Why is BSD OSI certified?
rod at cyberspaces.org
Thu Oct 17 01:50:53 UTC 2002
> Rod Dixon scripsit:
> > John, would you further clarify your point? I am unsure whether I
> > understand the distinction you are making. An open source software
> > governs open source software.
> Although the OSI certifies licenses, the OSD is a definition of what
> it means for *software* to be Open Source. Eight of the nine restrictions
> are worded in terms of what the license of the software must provide for;
> but OSD #2 restricts the software directly, saying that unobscured
> source code for the program must be easily available, but in no way
> constraining the license.
For purposes of clarification, all of the articles of the OSD may be viewed
as referring to open source software distributed under the terms of an open
source license. Article 2 of the OSD sets out a requirement that if the
applicable license ignored the restriction or contained provisions that were
contra, the license would not be consistent with Article 2. I suspect the
OSI Board might reject such a license, if it were submitted. In that regard,
I would not state that Article 2 of the OSD is just about software and not
like the other articles.
> > How did you splice this to get to Netscape
> > 7.0? I can post part of Netscape's license, if necessary, but paragraph
> > (I think) raises exactly the point Alain raised (but with regard to the
> > BSD).
> I suppose you mean the NPL.
No, I meant what I stated. I posted an excerpt from the Netscape license
below. The fact that it is difficult to view Netscape's license online is
not your fault. Netscape's clickwrap in 7.0 is odd and I am unsure why the
AOL/TW lawyers advised them to do what they are doing.
> But Netscape 7.0 is not distributed under the
> NPL, and indeed contains components whose source code is proprietary.
> Taken as a whole, Netscape 7.0 is as closed as Windows. I have been
> unsuccessful in finding a specific license for Netscape 7.0, but the
> general Netscape license at http://wp.netscape.com/terms/index.html#sw
> forbids modifying, selling, copying, or distributing anything not
> explicitly distributed under any other license such as the NPL or MPL.
Take a look at paragraph 7. I do not know what to make of it...perhaps its
terms are part of a concession to an earlier dispute. At any rate, one would
have to reverse engineer their code to determine whether any of your
assumptions are correct. How would one know whether version 7.0 is not
"covered code" as defined by the NPL? This is a genuine open source
conundrum, and I thought that was the type of issue you spotted in Article 2
of the OSD, but I stand corrected.
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