[License-review] For approval: The Cryptographic Autonomy License (Beta 4)

Lukas Atkinson opensource at lukasatkinson.de
Sun Dec 8 13:06:34 UTC 2019

On Sun, 8 Dec 2019 at 01:19, Bruce Perens wrote:

> Certainly any party can assert a patent, but as we have observed, Open
> Source projects don't assert patents against each other. I don't know if
> even one instance.

Open source project's don't tend to sue each other in general, so the lack
of patent litigation is quite unsurprising.

> The difference in this case is that a fundamental feature of the  network
> breaks if you allow interoperable software under another Open Source
> license on the network. Because that network node operator is not bound by
> any anti-sequestration terms. So as far as I can tell, you have to assert
> your patents, you can't tolerate having that operator continue.

I somewhat agree with your analysis, but:

   - if the design of the Holochain requires patent litigation to work,
   that's a feature of the Holochain and not of the CAL.
   - if a pure-CAL software environment were required, the components could
   surely be written in a manner to refuse interoperability with programs that
   don't declare themselves as CAL-licensed. IIRC some GNU software already
   gates some APIs behind similar checks.
   - in any case, relying on network effects may be sufficient to keep a
   CAL-licensed reference implementation prominent.

[…] But what this makes me think is that this will end up being another
> license that nobody uses, like the badgeware one which caused tons of
> dispute and ended up with zero community acceptance.

I am eagerly awaiting OSI approval for the CAL because it does a much
better job at protecting end user freedoms than any other copyleft license
I know. The CAL only lacks two wishlist items for me (CC-BY-4.0-style
upgrade clause, GPLv3-style additional terms mechanism). While I will keep
using the GPL license suite for compatibility, I expect to start
dual-licensing future projects under the CAL. Despite its weird name the
CAL looks very interesting for a standard webapp context, without any
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