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

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Thu Feb 17 04:34:07 UTC 2005

David Ryan scripsit:

> 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?  The 
> original story is at http://www.technewsworld.com/story/40672.html

This article is silly (the FSF does have negative things to say about the
CDDL, but they do say right up front that it's a free software license,
as of course it is) and quotes people saying silly things (everyone who
releases open-source software does so on his/her/its own terms).

IMHO, proliferation of non-reciprocal (BSD-like) licenses is not a
problem, since in general code licensed under all of them can be mixed
at will.  Having lots of these isn't a clear and present danger to anyone.

The same is true of the licenses like the LGPL, MPL, or CDDL, which
require the license to be preserved on the main code, but allow either
any license or any Open Source license on larger works incorporating
the licensed code.

The difficult case is the licenses like the GPL and the OSL, which
(according to the prevailing interpretations) affect not only changes to
the licensed work but also larger works that incorporate it.  (The author
of the OSL is on record as disagreeing with this interpretation both
for his own license and for the GPL, and I even agree, but not too
many people do, certainly not the FSF.)  Each such license creates a
sealed-off software commons distinct from the general commons created by
the other licenses.  (Numerically, most software is in the GPL commons
or overlaps both commons.)

In short, there really is no problem at present.

Values of beeta will give rise to dom!          John Cowan
(5th/6th edition 'mv' said this if you tried    http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
to rename '.' or '..' entries; see              jcowan at reutershealth.com

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