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

Elmar Stellnberger estellnb at elstel.org
Fri Jan 11 13:19:43 UTC 2019

On 09.01.19 02:29, Rob Landley wrote:
> On 1/8/19 9:56 AM, Elmar Stellnberger wrote:
>> Full Name: Convertible Free Software License Version 1.3
>> Short Identifier: C-FSL v1.3
>> URL1: https://www.elstel.org/license/C-FSL-v1.3.pdf
>> URL2: https://www.elstel.org/license/C-FSL-v1.3.txt
>> Rationale and Distinguish:
>> While the BSD license allows the whole world to re-license and while
>> re-licensing is virtually impossible with GPL since every contributor would need
>> to consent the C-FSL license goes a practical intermediate way restricting the
>> right to re-license to a group called the original authors. That way open source
>> developers are not excluded from making business with others who want to base a
>> proprietary product on the given piece of open source software.
> The clear intent of that paragraph seems to be to have an "in group" and and
> "out group", where some pigs are more equal than others. That's... not open
> source? (You may be confusing ownership and attribution?)
> It sounds like what you want here is copyright assignment. Which is hugely
> unpopular, so you're... trying to disguise it?
> Suppose somebody bolts on a crypto library like
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NaCl_(software) which predates the existence of
> your project. Are they now the "original" authors because their code came first?
> Does that mean a third party who added crypto support grants someone other than
> you permission to relicense your entire project just because they now have the
> oldest code? Or is it the person who has the _most_ code in the project, in
> which case somebody has to bolt on a BIG framework they wrote (link it to QT,
> etc), and _then_ they can take your code proprietary?
> Or do you literally just mean "we're special, we get extra rights nobody else
> gets, in perpetuity" and you want to call that open source?
> Rob

Well if someone publishes code under C-FSL he needs to be a (/one of 
the) copyright holder(/s) in order to have the right to re-license under 
C-FSL. If so then he is perfectly fine to do so. In this case it is 
likely that the elder authors could publish under C-FSL without crypto 
support and those who have added crypto support as well because they 
have contributed a major part of the code (assumed that the previous 
product was already C-FSL or open source).

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