What's this commercial license, and what's the problem with CDDL?

Jason White jasonjgw at pacific.net.au
Thu Feb 17 04:13:01 UTC 2005

David Ryan writes:
 > I noticed that Slashdot had a link today to OSI and the current problem 
 > of proliferation of licenses.  For those interested here's the link.
 > http://developers.slashdot.org/developers/05/02/16/2210209.shtml
 > I agree completely that the OSI has created a problem for itself with 
 > license proliferation, however, I don't see this being solved by saying 
 > that they will only be three licenses (as suggested by the article).  I 
 > haven't seen these ideas discussed in this list.  Anyone know what the 
 > meaning behind the requirement for a "commercial license" as the third 
 > license involves?  What is the basis for this license, etc?

The first point to note is that the article quotes a member of the
board of the OSDL, which, according to the same article, has been
advocating a reduction in the number of approved licenses. Thus, what
is quoted is most likely to be a personal opinion, or at most a
position endorsed by OSDL (not OSI), and should be treated as such.

There has been discussion on this list of opening a new category of
"recommended licenses", in effect introducing a two-tiered approval
system. It would also be possible for the OSI to introduce a stronger
threshold for approval, for example by requiring parties seeking
approval for new licenses to justify creating another license instead
of adopting an existing one, or requiring the wording of newly
approved licenses to be sufficiently general to make them reusable in
other projects, or rejecting new licenses that fail to meet
compatibility criteria (that would again have to be specified) with
respect to existing open-source licenses. Note the inclusive
disjunction in this last sentence - I am suggesting that any
combination of these and other options is in principle open.

 > I'm also interested in the so called controversy over the CDDL.  Having 
 > read over the differences again, it seems to only clarify the MPL.  Is 
 > there any *real* issues with the CDDL that people have found?

No. I raised some of the alleged issues on this list recently; check
the archives for the discussion that ensued. I still think the CDDL is
a good license and that it has the advantages which John Cowan and
others have identified with regard to the MPL.

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with the OSI or any other
organization; all opinions expressed here are mine alone, and I'm a
relatively uninformed member of the public.

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