[License-review] For Approval: Convertible Free Software License, Version 1.3 (C-FSL v1.3)

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Thu Jan 10 23:00:05 UTC 2019

On Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 7:32 PM Rob Landley <rob at landley.net> wrote:

What is and isn't a new project gets a little... fuzzy at times. As an
> extreme
> case, buildroot started life as the uclibc test suite (test uClibc by
> building a
> uClibc toolchain and building packages against uClibc).

That's a pretty extreme case, because buildroot has a different purpose
altogether, but it's certainly covered by open source.  But normally forks
have one of three fates:  die (Drizzle from MySQL), eat their parent under
a new name (LibreOffice), or eat their parent and inherit the name (gcc

even though https://bellard.org/tcc/tccboot.html
> demonstrated _compelling_ todo items for the project that sadly never
> quite got
> done because qemu ate all Fabrice's cycles)...

I can't agree there:  tccboot has again a different purpose from tinycc.

> With tccboot and uclibc, loss of the original maintainer's time killed the
> project (but other maintainers did new versions later, both of which are
> still
> pretty darn moribund development-wise and a shadow of what it used to be,
> but if
> people still _want_ to use that old thing they have an option).

Tinycc isn't abandoned IMO, it's just *done*.  It's a C99 compiler modulo
numbers, and doesn't need any improvement.

I once ran a V7 Unix on a PDP-11 emulator and compared the cal(1) command
with GNU cal running on Linux.  Except for the mixed-case weekday
in the GNU version, the output was *exactly* the same.  Someone with access
the then-closed Solaris source told me that there had been no changes to
cal except for i18n.  There's simply no need for continuous development of

> tl;dr: what this license is trying to do with its "original developers"
> nonsense
> does not match reality, even a little. (At least according to this hobbyist
> computer historian's understanding.) It is _conceptually_ broken.

Agreed, despite my carps above.  But not all OSS is community-based: some is
thrown over the transom to use as you please.  Giving the original
(i.e. the company) special rights in such a case isn't that big a deal.
*software* doesn't necessarily entail open-source *development*.  My
TagSoup library
is a mini-cathedral, for example: it's fully open source, but I accept no
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