a proposed change to the OSD

Russell Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Sun Oct 27 06:00:08 UTC 2002

John Cowan writes:
 > Russell Nelson scripsit:
 > > At the end of the day, Larry, the community doesn't want to use
 > > software for which it has to contract to use.  
 > Amen.
 > I was reflecting on the Open Software License, and I realized that it is
 > not only viral, it is super-viral.  Essentially everyone who uses the
 > program must be able to distribute source as well.  If you use an OSL
 > program in any way in your work, if you so much as use it to assist in
 > sending email to anyone, you have "Externally Deployed" it ("used [it] to
 > provide services or otherwise deliver content to anyone other than You.")
 > A home user might feel more exempt playing an OSL game, but if that game
 > can communicate with other gamers over the Internet, it's "Externally
 > Deployed" again, and the home user better be able to supply source code.
 > And if your copy of the game sends information to my copy, you have
 > "distributed" to me, and if you aren't prepared to supply source code,
 > I sue you under the OSL.  These are just people who use the software
 > as-is and don't try to modify it in any way.
 > The license makes an exception for deployment to people in the same
 > company with you (they are all part of "You"), but in fact everything done
 > in the course of business assists the business in "providing services
 > or otherwise deliver[ing] content" to the customers of the business,
 > and so it too counts as "External Deployment".  So only what you do on
 > your own, personally owned, totally isolated system is protected from
 > the reach of this license.
 > Don't use the OSL.  Don't use OSL-licensed software.

Is your next step going to be to stand up at the O'Reilly Open Source
Conference and proclaim "It's not a free software license.  Don't use
it!"  Sorry, but you're sounding like a certain zealot, the way you
phrased that paragraph.

John, go read the proposed GPLv3.  People who like the GPLv2 (and you
may not be be one of them) tend to like the GPLv3.  And those who
don't like the GPLv2 REALLY don't like the GPLv3.  The OSL is no more
or less an attempt to be compatible with the GPLv3 before it's
published (unless I miss my mark).

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