Best base license to pick?

Jason White jasonjgw at
Sat Feb 12 08:58:38 UTC 2005

Matthew Seth Flaschen writes:
 > I'm curious.  What part of it do you object to, exactly, and why?

I object to the licensor's being able to require that all modified
versions be distributed in the form of original work + patches. There
are several grounds of objection:

1. Attribution and other provisions discussed on this list can
   achieve all of the reasonable purposes which the pristine+patches
   requirement accomplishes.

2. This is an unreasonable burden on software maintainers. Suppose the
   original developer decides to discontinue the package, or (in the
   case of an organization) ceases to exist, without changing the
   license. However much the project evolves and however far it grows,
   a simple, clean collection of source files can never again be
   distributed; successive versions will always have to be released as
   a collection of original files plus all the necessary patches
   encapsulating the differences between these and the latest version.

3. There is also the problem of whether this extends to all derived
   works. If someone includes a portion of the code in another
   project, they may then be burdened with having to distribute the
   whole of the original code along with their software; or else the
   license would have to restrict the inclusion of portions of the
   code in other works, limiting its utility.

Those are the main arguments that come immediately to mind. There may
well be others.

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