[License-review] For Approval: Convertible Free Software License, Version 1.3 (C-FSL v1.3)

Brendan Hickey brendan.m.hickey at gmail.com
Fri Jan 11 11:27:55 UTC 2019

On Fri, Jan 11, 2019, 05:20 Elmar Stellnberger <estellnb at elstel.org wrote:

> > The offending point is that it's the Original Authors, not the copyright
> > holders, those who have the power to authorize relicensing and adding
> > new Original Authors (I suppose all of them jointly, or perhaps based on
> > a majority vote, and in case, how do you calculate the majority? Per
> > capita? Per share?)
> all of them jointly.
> It is the original authors who are copyright holders.

No. It's some of the copyright holders. This license explicitly privileges
some over others. The whole purpose of this license is to discriminate
between copyright holders while pretending to be free software and/or open
source. This is conceptually incompatible with the OSD. Any license that
implements this is non-free.

Folks over at Debian have spent years explaining how the C-FSL violates the
DFSG. Even if the OSI makes some catastrophic error in judgement and
approves the C-FSL, it won't impel them to move your packages out of

As already
> documented before I believe it to be the most just solution. It allows a
> small team of developers to act like a big firm which employs a
> contributor license agreement.

This isn't a problem for open source to solve, this license doesn't solve
it and even if it did it isn't equitable. Use Harmony if you want a CLA.
Use a well known open license with an upgrade clause if you're concerned
about novel legal developments. You've provided no more substantive
response beyond saying this is wrong.

Who of you has ever complaint about
> contributor license agreements?

Very few of us, is my guess. I won't sign one. Presumably other folks here
won't sign them either. You probably shouldn't sign one, but I won't stop

Why do you not complain about Apple
> taking the FreeBSD kernel and exploiting it for its own profit without
> giving anything back to the open source community?

Apple is adhering to the license. Full stop. No one forced the BSD devs to
make their licensing decisions. No one forced MongoDB to use the AGPL. It's
silly to freely license code and then whine when someone actually uses it.

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