[License-review] Contemplating the licensing issues of server applications

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Sun Feb 17 23:46:19 UTC 2019

[Former subject was: "Re: [License-review] Approval: Server Side Public
License, Version 2 (SSPL v2)"]


Kyle Mitchell said:

> As for me, I've lost confidence in this body's ability to make rigorous
decisions, or even facilitate focused debate, on any remotely interesting
new copyleft license.  


Some people here say that this license-review@ list is the wrong place to
resolve this. Instead of trying to convince each other about specific SSPL
approval [1], why not go to the license-discuss@ list and contemplate
instead the broad requirements for the very important open source server
application business model? 


*	What components or other aspects of server applications are
potentially subject to open source copyleft? 


*	Is "corresponding source" more than only the Original Work and
Derivative Works as those terms are defined in copyright law? How much more?


Those are discussable issues. They've been discussable issues without clear
resolution since I've patrolled these email lists. Don't despair, Kyle. Some
of us "old hands" actually share your concerns.


I'm taking this thread, under a new subject, to license-discuss@, with hope.




[1] Is the OSI Board ready for a vote on SSPL? If so, get it over with, but
let's discuss the underlying issues anyway.



-----Original Message-----
From: License-review <license-review-bounces at lists.opensource.org> On Behalf
Of Kyle Mitchell
Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2019 10:12 AM
To: License submissions for OSI review <license-review at lists.opensource.org>
Subject: Re: [License-review] Approval: Server Side Public License, Version
2 (SSPL v2)


On 2019-02-16 22:02, Bruce Perens wrote:

> The language struck here is the main problem keeping the proposed 

> license from being accepted as compliant with the Open Source 

> Definition. I believe that we objected to similar language in the 

> first version, and am confused as to why you felt the need to refine 

> the definition of software as a service, since *this was not 

> responsive to the objections to the license.*


Eliot's refinement is highly responsive to my primary objection to both v1
and v2.  It wasn't mine alone.


How Bruce's objection automatically becomes the main and only objection, I
am not given to know.  I fear Richard's admirable stab at process reform
brings no clarity there, and muddies waters elsewhere, besides.  All of this
calls Luis' prior effort to mind.  With reformers like those, and results
like these, my doubts turn to the reformed.


On first glance, the new section looks like an improvement.

It's speaking in terms more like those we've used to describe intent and
effect, which is a very good sign.  But it takes well more than a day to
assess changes like these, in the crux of the license, in detail, especially
when the rest of the text runs this long.  If I have thoughts, Eliot and
Heather will have them, privately.  They can bring them here if they like.


As for me, I've lost confidence in this body's ability to make rigorous
decisions, or even facilitate focused debate, on any remotely interesting
new copyleft license.  At least when certain old hands do not play authorial
or consultative parts.  So I've otherwise stopped responding, and focused my
efforts where collective time and talent have hope of yielding practical
results.  In that I am also not alone.



Kyle Mitchell, attorney // Oakland // (510) 712 - 0933



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