[License-review] Support for SSPL v2

Carlo Piana carlo at piana.eu
Thu Dec 13 07:09:52 UTC 2018


While I certainly agree with most of what you say,  being an advocate of copyleft and a believer that it must adapt to a world where cloud is the naturally dominant of software, and while I agree that it's a difficult task, I don't believe *this particular license* makes the cut. 

And I can't help repeating what I've said since the beginning. As I can't work out in a reasonably large number of application scenarios what the scope of the license (larger or stricter doesn't matter) is, the copyleft here is a red herring for "get it, but if you want to use it for anything meaningful,  you must take a proprietary license". It's the dual licensing paradigm on steroids, as it counts on uncertainty. Therefore unworkable in distributed copyright projects. 

The troubling bit is 

> "the **value** of which entirely or primarily **derives** from the **value** of the Program or modified version" [emphasis added]

That's not copyright nor a legally parsable concept. The other bit

> "or offering a service that accomplishes for users the primary purpose of the Program or modified version." 

is clear and understandable: it maps distribution to network distribution. The first is a general, vague statement that can work for certain scenarios and totally fail in others. 

Therefore, unless that bit is changed, providing stricter rules for defining boundaries, I will insist on rejection, even as experimental. 

Warmest regards, 


On 13 Dec 2018, Greg Luck <greg at hazelcast.com> wrote:
>"Making the functionality of the Program or modified version available
>to third parties as a service includes, without limitation, enabling
>third parties to interact with the functionality of the Program or
>modified version remotely through a computer network, offering a
>service the value of which entirely or primarily derives from the value
>of the Program or modified version, or offering a service that
>accomplishes for users the primary purpose of the Program or modified
>The copyleft concept in the GPL applies to redistribution (GPLv2) and
>conveyance (GPL v3).
>In GPL v3, To “convey” a work means any kind of propagation that
>enables other parties to make or receive copies.
>Cloud Providers are different. And new.  They provide the software as a
>service, not a copy of the software. They provide the exact software,
>with the same API, and generally without any modifications, as a
>service. I call it service wrapping. Some examples are Redis, MySQL,
>Kafka.  They derive all their economic value from running the software
>for others without giving those others “copies”. So they can do this
>without passing on any copyleft restrictions. The software is used, not
>copied and therefore not conveyed as defined. 
>I always through the idea behind copyleft was to prevent that other
>party from simply selling, or modifying a selling something that was
>free. So it made those derivative works free too. This is the same
>idea, but applied to the new world of services. 
>The other thing that is different is that there are a smaller number of
>people who can meaningfully service wrap than redistribute. There are
>natural monopolies that exist with the giant cloud providers. Cloud
>Providers benefit from the network effect. There is also a high barrier
>to entry - it takes billions of dollars of investment and many years to
>set one up. The network effects are number of regions and features.
>This leads to more customers, and those lead to more regions and
>features, and so on. These factors suggest we will have a single digit
>number of Cloud Providers into the future. 
>Software is rapidly changing from a model where to get utility from it,
>it had to be redistributed or conveyed to you, to using it as a
>service. If copyright owners want to restrict this, one way is to pass
>the copyleft obligations to the software that runs the service itself.
>Which is what SSPL so elegantly does. GPLv3 does not deal with this nor
>does any other open source license deal 
>Which is why I support SSPL.
>In terms of Lawrence Rosen, the last sentence in his email from
>yesterday is  "I vote for approval as an experimental license."
>Greg Luck
>350 Cambridge Ave #100, Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA 
>> On 13 Dec 2018, at 11:44 am, Rob Landley <rob at landley.net> wrote:
>> On 12/12/18 7:23 PM, Greg Luck wrote:
>>> Hi
>>> I wanted to offer our support to SSPL v2.
>> I'd like to offer my support for Universal Basic Income. I consider
>> sentiments roughly equivalent in this context.
>>> In our opinion, applying a copyleft
>>> provision to those providing the software as a service by a Cloud
>Provider is a
>>> great idea, and within the spirit of the original intent of
>>> There is a great need in the open source community for a license
>that places
>>> obligations on service wrappers. Cloud Providers as we know them now
>did not
>>> exist when the open source movement came into being. It is a special
>> Richard Stallman railed about the "Application Service Provider
>loophole" in a
>> talk he gave at LinuxWorld Expo in 2000. It was his main gripe with
>GPLv2 at the
>> time. I was there, I think it was this one?
>> GPL version 3 came out 6 years later. If he and Eben Moglen working
>together for
>> half a decade couldn't manage to address the issue and still call the
>> "Free Software", what makes you think you're going to?
>> It's been _18_years_ since that conference. The "great need" hasn't
>> intensified since. The dot-com boom was at least as gung-ho about
>cornering the
>> market on every possible niche as the modern "cloud" business models.
>> (Cloud is the marketing term used for "the PC got kicked up into the
>> space like mainframes and minicomputers before it". Mainframe ->
>minicomputer ->
>> microcomputer -> smartphone, I gave my own talk about _that_ 5 years
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGmtP5Lg_t0#t=29 and blogged about it
>back in
>> 2010 http://landley.net/notes-2010.html#09-10-2010 . This is not a
>new thing.)
>> If the consensus on this list so far from people like Lawrence Rosen
>has been
>> "that's now how copyright law and open source work", how is "but
>that's now how
>> I WANT them to work" going to help?
>> Rob
>License-review mailing list
>License-review at lists.opensource.org
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