Advertising Clauses in Licenses

Russell Nelson nelson at
Wed Feb 13 16:07:22 UTC 2002

Bruce Perens writes:
 > From: Russell Nelson <nelson at>
 > > There is much in the OSD which is insufficiently explicit.  For
 > > example, we have maintained that there are no possible restrictions
 > > a license could put on users, because there is no possible mechanism
 > > one could use to constraint them, because no approved license can
 > > require that the user execute a license (OSD#7).
 > People should be able to understand the OSD. Sigh.

Unfortunately, the OSD is not very well written.  For example, it says 
nothing about use, so multiple parties have tried to say "Yeah, you
can copy this software, but in order to use it, you have to license it 
from us."  We squashed them using #7 (fortunately!), but the OSD
really ought to say "If you have a copy of this software, you can do
anything you want with it."  The people who wrote the OSD never
considered that somebody might want to deny usage.

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