[License-discuss] Status of earlier AFL licenses?

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Thu Sep 9 03:30:32 UTC 2021

Summary: Larry is still Larry

The situation you are all left in is that the largest companies have
figured out how to operate a resource-extraction paradigm, in which
they obtain the maximal utility from the Open Source community. much
as if they were mining or logging a natural resource. Community
members - be they companies or individuals, are their unpaid
employees. Or perhaps, as a different Larry once said, the Indigenous
People of Software.

Negotiating with the largest companies is not the path to a solution.
You end up doing exactly what they want, and nothing else. There is a
solution, but it's not called "Open Source" and does not have the same

Bruce is still Bruce, too.

On Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 2:05 PM VM (Vicky) Brasseur
<osi-lists at vmbrasseur.com> wrote:
> Thanks Larry. I'm confirming with the SPDX team but I think this may be
> exactly the information they needed.
> And thanks to McCoy for looping Larry into the conversation.
> Woo, teamwork!
> --V
> Lawrence Rosen wrote on 8/9/21 12:55:
> > Vicky and others,
> >
> > Those earlier versions of AFL and OSL were approved by the OSI board at the time, mostly because those licenses were specifically written to the requirements stated by various members (then) of the OSI board. They wanted very strong patent protection, for example, but when those early versions of the licenses were approved, the outcry from certain companies (Google and IBM, in particular) and their attorneys was intense.
> >
> > So my role, as OSI's attorney, was to "negotiate" something tolerable by all parties.
> >
> > The results were AFL/OSL 3.0, but then the religious dogmatism of the GPL folks, and the objections of Google to the specific reciprocal provision in the OSL, made me realize that obtaining widespread consensus to any license would be impossible. Their rejections of the licenses simply became more intense over the next few years, and the community at large continued to propose new licenses that made every form of consensus more impossible. New licenses were proposed and approved constantly.
> >
> > I gave up promoting new licenses (except for the Non-Profit OSL 3.0 requested by IETF for their software), particularly when it was clear that some members of the OSI board at the time (Eric Raymond specifically) wanted me to include provisions (about "joint works") that I thought would be illegal if included.
> >
> > I wrote my book and then I resigned from the OSI entirely.
> >
> > I  stand behind AFL and OSL and NOSL versions 3.0. They remain my not-so-humble attempt to create licenses that would generally please the community, but asking lawyers and open source advocates to converge on a consensus is impossible.
> >
> > McCoy: That is why I seldom comment on this list. As I got older I began to better appreciate futility.
> >
> > /Larry
> >
> > Lawrence Rosen
> > 707-478-8932
> > 3001 King Ranch Rd., Ukiah, CA 95482
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: VM (Vicky) Brasseur <osi-lists at vmbrasseur.com>
> > Sent: Wednesday, September 8, 2021 11:45 AM
> > To: mccoy at lexpan.law; license-discuss at lists.opensource.org
> > Cc: lrosen at rosenlaw.com
> > Subject: Re: [License-discuss] Status of earlier AFL licenses?
> >
> > That's the process I'm familiar with, but I also haven't been paying a lot of attention to it lately so my memory may be failing me there.
> >
> > Larry, could you please confirm whether those versions were OSI-approved when they _were_ valid?
> >
> > My guess is that they were, but I don't want to assume and the SPDX team can't find definitive proof either way.
> >
> > --V
> >
> > McCoy Smith wrote on 8/9/21 10:17:
> >> I think the earlier versions, however, should be put in the "superseded"
> >> category to capture any legacy uses? That's how others have been handled.
> >>
> >>> -----Original Message-----
> >>> From: Lawrence Rosen <lrosen at rosenlaw.com>
> >>> Sent: Wednesday, September 8, 2021 8:08 AM
> >>> To: mccoy at lexpan.law; license-discuss at lists.opensource.org
> >>> Cc: lrosen at rosenlaw.com
> >>> Subject: RE: [License-discuss] Status of earlier AFL licenses?
> >>>
> >>> McCoy is correct. Versions of AFL and OSL **prior to version 3.0**
> >>> are no longer valid. Please remove those earlier versions. /Larry
> >>>
> >>> Lawrence Rosen
> >>> 707-478-8932
> >>> 3001 King Ranch Rd., Ukiah, CA 95482
> >
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Bruce Perens K6BP
- Board Partner, OSS Capital LLC Venture Capital
- CEO, undisclosed startup

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