Simplified Artistic License

Nathan Kelley phyax at
Fri Oct 4 13:46:28 UTC 2002

To OSI License Discussion subscribers and Robert Samuel White,

I have read the Simplified Artistic License. Robert, it mostly complies 
with the OSD, although I would look into three additional, minor points:

(1) The license should define "Derived" in the Definitions.

(2) The license should indicate that derivatives can be distributed 
under the same terms as this original license (to clarify the license 
against Item 3 of the Definition).

(3) The license should require that, when doing binary distributions, 
referencing how/where to get the source code in addition to the fact 
that changes have been made and by whom (to clarify against Item 2 of 
the Definition).

Once those items have been cleared up, I would be willing to call it 
OSD-compliant (even if it did not become certified).

Also, in response to the following discussion...

>> From: Robert Samuel White <webmaster at>,
> From: David Johnson <david at>,

>> - You may not charge any fees for the Package itself.  However, you 
>> may
>> distribute this Package in aggregate with other (possibly commercial)
>> programs as part of a larger (possibly commercial) software 
>> distribution
>> provided that you do not advertise this Package as a product of your
>> own.
> This has been commented on before, but I'm bringing it up again. The 
> "no fees"
> clause in the AL is a no-op, is because it allows charging of fees for
> distribution and media. Your license does not. In the real world we 
> live in,
> charging for the package itself is equivalent to charging a license 
> fee, so
> it's not a huge deal that the AL denies it. But without the ability to 
> charge
> for media or distribution services, your clause does indeed violate 
> the OSD
> because it becomes impossible to sell the software without first 
> aggregating
> it with other software. (I'm hoping my wording makes sense to others 
> besides
> myself...)

David, note Item 1 of the Definition:

"1. Free Redistribution

The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away 
the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution 
containing programs from several different sources. The license shall 
not require a royalty or other fee for such sale."

Regardless of how we interpret this item, what it _actually_ says is 
that you can't stop anyone from aggregating the software with other 
packages and then selling the medium on which those packages are 
aggregated for a profit; it does not cover at all the selling the 
software when it has not been aggregated. So in this context, Robert's 
license actually conforms to the OSD.

Now, if the intent of the OSD was to say that you can't restrict anyone 
from selling or giving away the package, regardless of the 
circumstances, then the OSD needs to be changed, because that is 
definitely _not_ what it says right now.

Cheers, Nathan.

license-discuss archive is at

More information about the License-discuss mailing list