Free World Licence.

Ross N. Williams ross at
Mon Oct 18 07:09:35 UTC 1999

Hi Everyone,

I have created a new free software licence on which I would appreciate
some feedback. The licence is called the "Free World Licence" and its
main feature is that it allows the software to be used on free platforms
only (GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, GNU/HURD etc - the "Free World").

The advantage of the licence is that it enables commercial vendors
(such as Rocksoft) to release their commercial software as open source
software for use by the free world without it competing with their
commercial offerings for commercial platforms. In my view this can make
everyone happy:

   * The vendor gets to feel good because it is making a contribution
     to the free software movement and increasing the utility of the
     software within society.

   * The vendor gets to experiment with free software
     business models without risking its revenue stream. In
     particular, the vendor can sell a commercial version in
     competition with the free one on free platforms and see
     if people still buy the commercial version.

   * If free software takes over the world, the vendor will have
     laid the foundations for conversion into a service company
     based around its free release. If not, it's business as usual!

   * Free software advocates dont/won't use commercial platforms, so
     as far as they are concerned, the platform-restriction might
     as well say that the software can't be used on the planet

   * Free software advocates may wish to release software under
     this licence so that their software does not enhance the
     functionality of commercial platforms.

The definition of "Free Platform" as it appears in the licence
appears below. I haven't included the complete licence because
I'm still tweaking it, and there's no need to see it to discuss
and answer the main question in relation to this licence:

   Q: Does the restriction to free-platforms-only prohibit this
      licence from being classified as "Open Source"^tm.



Dr Ross N. Williams (ross at, +61 8 8232-6262 (fax-6264).
Director, Rocksoft Pty Ltd, Adelaide, Australia: 
Protect your files with Veracity data integrity:

FREE PLATFORM: A Free Platform is defined to be any Platform
whose software component satisfies the following conditions
technically, legally, and free of charge for all entities:
a. complete Executables can be downloaded from the internet;
b. complete Source Code can be downloaded from the internet;
c. the software may be used for any purpose;
d. the software may be modified, and modified versions used;
e. modifications and modified versions may be publicly shared
   under the same terms;
f. these freedoms apply to both Executables and Source Code;
g. these freedoms are irreversible for the particular version of
   the Platform in question.
The following is an informal categorization of some existing
Platforms. This categorization is subordinate to the definition
Free     : GNU/Linux (often called just "Linux"), FreeBSD,
           NetBSD, OpenBSD, GNU/HURD.
Non-Free : MS-DOS, Windows95, Windows98, WindowsNT, Windows2000,
           MacOS, AIX, IRIX, Compaq Tru64, SunOS, Solaris,
           OpenVMS, HP/UX, BSD/OS.
See also PLATFORM.


PLATFORM: A collection of hardware, software and interfaces
that together constitute an execution environment. For the
purposes of this licence, the software component of a
Platform is defined to be the minimum set of software
required to support the execution of the Module (or the
derived work containing the Module). See also FREE PLATFORM.

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