OpenE License

David Blevins david.blevins at
Wed Feb 27 18:37:11 UTC 2002

Thank you for the clarification Matthew.  You're right, I was assuming the
copyright in the license applied to the software under it.

I have no interest in "owning" a license, just the software I write.  I like
the terms of the Apache license, as I understand them they basically say,
"You can use and modify the source, just admit you are doing so and say
thank you."  I may be incorrect in my interpretation.

Is it possible to create a "General Open Source License" that provides
similar terms but the parties involved (Apache, OpenE, John Q. Public) are
not "hard-coded" in the license?


Matthew C.Weigel wrote:
> On Wednesday, February 27, 2002, at 12:46 p, David Blevins wrote:
> >>> (I dislike seeing copyrights on licenses anyway.  It implies that
> >>> someone modifying the license needs approval...which means that OpenE
> >>> needs approval from Apache group....Did they get it?  Does OpenE
> >>> want to be bothered when someone wants to take the OpenE license
> >>> and modify it?)
> >>
> >> This is a sticky wicket which we have not found a good answer to.  On
> >> the one hand, licenses that name a copyright holder are not reusable.
> >> On the other hand, it seems hypocritical for an organization that
> >> promotes software reuse to NOT promote license reuse.  And as you
> >> point out, the license does not give any permissions to create derived
> >> works.
> >>
> >> The OSD is silent on this issue, so we have no grounds for refusing to
> >> approve a copyrighted license.
> >>
> >> We're having a board meeting today, and I'll bring this issue up.
> >
> > The license does give permission to create derived works, provided
> > those derivations are under the same license.  This is clearly
> > impossible if merging that work with another work under the same
> > restriction, so I see your point.
> You are confusing the copyright of the license and the copyright of
> the software.
> What was being discussed was how to handle a) licenses that are
> specific to a single company, and b) licenses that forbid
> derivative works (i.e.,  "I like this license but I need to make
> this change for my needs..." - the resultant license may well be
> OSD-compliant, but it might not be *usable*)
> > I have felt first hand the complications of working on open source
> > software copyrighted to someone else, an thusly, not having the
> > right to mix that code with even another Open Source approved
> > license.  One possible avenue would be amending the OSD to protect
> > the rights to change the license (and copyright) on derived works
> > to any other OSI approved license.
> You can not, except under special circumstances, transfer copyright
> to someone else.
> If you could change the license of anything under an OSS license to
> be under any other OSS license, everything would eventually be
> under the BSD license.  And there would be gobs and gobs and gobs
> of software that was Free Software but not Open Source, because
> people would not be *interested* in having whatever license they
> created for their software replaced.  Different licenses serve
> different needs *of the licensor*, and the licensee's needs that
> are considered 'important' or 'necessary' or 'good' are the ones
> already in the OSD.
> > Even this raises the question, who has rights to relicense and
> > sell a commercial version as is done with PostgreSQL, MySQL, etc.?
> The copyright holder(s) and people to whom the copyright holder(s)
> grant that right.
> It is a common thread that people see part of Free Software and
> think, "this is all there is; this license describes Free
> Software." It happens when people think that every concievable
> right ought to go to the licensee and they think the BSD license is
> all there is, and it happens when they see the GPL and think that
> Free Software must be provisioned to always be Free Software to
> qualify.
> weigel at
> --
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