[License-discuss] Intimacy in open source (SSPL and AGPL)

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Tue Jan 22 21:21:14 UTC 2019

On Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 12:32 PM Nicholas Matthew Neft Weinstock <
nweinsto at qti.qualcomm.com> wrote:

> Can you explain how you reach this conclusion?  My reading of section 6
> suggests that Corresponding Source must be conveyed under the terms of this
> License (e.g., GPLv3).  Where does the license allow Corresponding Source
> to be distributed under a GPLv3-compatible license?

You have the whole of section 7 on additional terms to consider.

This is really essential, since most of FSF's own libraries are under a
compatible license other than (A)GPL3.

> I’m flipping it around.  In this example, we’re saying that if the
> application needs the library in order to run, this is “intimate data
> communication”

I think you're confused about what is "intimate". Which is completely
excusable, it's a confusing term of art and I don't particularly like it.

If the application limits its use of the library to the library's API
exclusively, using documented user calls and data structures, it's not
intimate. Intimacy requires intrusion into the internals of the program
beyond the API published for programmers to use. Here is where I think
"intent" works better. The programmers intended for you to use the API to
connect to other programs.

However, given that a court has held that an API can be copyrightable, and
no other court has come around to contradict that, intimacy is not required
for the creation of a derivative work. Your application licensing must be
compatible with that of the library, even if it only uses the library's
published API.

There is an existing application under CDDL.  GNU.org states that this
> license is incompatible with GPLv3 because it is file-based copyleft, and
> section 3.1 states that if you distribute in Executable form you must also
> distribute in Source form under CDDL.
> There is an existing library under LGPLv3.
> I want to modify the application so that it needs the unmodified library
> in order to run.

Since CDDL *is *file-based copyleft, it doesn't impose its own conditions
on libraries. And LGPLv3 doesn't impose its conditions on the application.

This goes to 1.3 and 1.9 in CDDL. Covered Software doesn't include your own
original work, not containing code from the CDDL work, in a separate file.
Including libraries.

> So I don’t believe John’s statement is a complete and usable test for
> “intimacy” because it is broader than intended as the basis for LGPLv3.

I think John intended to imply that his definition covered use *other than
through the defined API.*


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