[License-review] Approval: Server Side Public License, Version 2 (SSPL v2)
bruce at perens.com
Mon Jan 28 23:12:05 UTC 2019
> In those cases, Section 13 requires the licensee to contribute to the
open source community by making *the code required to run its service*
mine] available under an OSI- or FSF-approved license.
Where my understanding is that "code required to run the service" extends
to programs that we would only consider to be aggregated along with the
licensed work, not in any form a derivative work or part of the program,
and not necessary for building the binary in the distributed from with all
necessary capabilities (thus not part of the Complete and Corresponding
Source Code under SFC's definition). For example the web server (where the
licensed work is not the web server).
I wrote #9 into the OSD to prohibit *exactly *this sort of conduct.
Exactly. The text is really clear.
It is an unfortunate fact that Open Source doesn't work for everyone.
Although I am not on the board which makes the final decision for OSI, I
think it's fair for me to say: please don't call this an Open Source
license. I don't see how the OSI board can approve it as one when it is so
clearly outside of the OSD. Beyond that single restriction, you are welcome
to use it as you desire.
On Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 2:55 PM Gil Yehuda via License-review <
license-review at lists.opensource.org> wrote:
> Thanks for this elaborate clarification. There are two questions that a
> "user" like me contemplates. 1.is this a "good" license for me to use in
> my intended use case? and 2 Is this an open source license per the OSD?
> (which this forum discusses and and subset articulates). The former
> question is critical for bottom line decisions at my company, and the
> latter one is very interesting for the industry.
> w/r/t 1. I appreciate the clarification. I'm one who has interpreted the
> previous MongoDB license scheme in an unfavorable way that adds more risk
> than assurance. SSPL helps remove one of the risks. Your explanation helps
> me see why some view this as an improvement.
> w/r/t 2. I'm interpreting your last paragraph to mean Section 13 is OSD
> compliant in all but a specific set of circumstances. But that implies it
> does *not* comply with OSD for those in those circumstances. Do you mean
> that SSPL is open source for *most* cases, or is *mostly* open source, or
> simply that it's *not* open source, but it's a good license nonetheless?
> *Gil Yehuda: *I help with external technology engagement
> From the Open Source Program Office at Yahoo --> Oath --> Verizon Media
> On Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 4:30 PM Eliot Horowitz via License-review <
> license-review at lists.opensource.org> wrote:
>> We have spent a significant amount of time over the past couple months
>> considering the comments posted on license-review regarding the SSPL. We
>> have also met with several individual members of the list to get additional
>> feedback and discuss how we can improve the SSPL. It has become apparent
>> from those discussions that confusion around the purpose and intent of the
>> license remains, and we would like to try to clear up that confusion.
>> Many people have speculated that we changed our license to drive
>> commercial license sales. However, our business is focused on selling our
>> hosted cloud offering, MongoDB Atlas, and subscription packages that
>> include proprietary software that supports the use of our database, such as
>> MongoDB Ops Manager. We do not view commercial licensing of the core
>> MongoDB database server alone to be a primary business driver, nor are we
>> trying to make it one via this license. As I’ve written before, the aim of
>> the SSPL is to provide a copyleft license that incentivizes and protects
>> innovative open source software from the threat of ‘SaaS-capture’ by large
>> cloud vendors.
>> The circumstances in which the source code sharing provision of SSPL
>> (Section 13) is triggered are in fact narrower than those of the AGPL.
>> Applying the SSPL to MongoDB specifically, Section 13 is triggered only in
>> one specific circumstance -- when someone offers MongoDB as a service by
>> running and managing MongoDB for third parties. Outside of this, any user
>> of our software (including a licensee who uses MongoDB as the backend
>> database for their own SaaS application) does not have to worry about
>> AGPL’s more general trigger for sharing source code. We know from
>> experience that many of our potential users found AGPL’s trigger ambiguous,
>> and we have worked hard to make the SSPL trigger both more specific and
>> more understandable.
>> The definition of “making the functionality of the Program . . .
>> available to third parties as a service” that we included in the second
>> sentence of Section 13 is meant to describe the concept of offering the
>> Program as a service in three ways:
>> - From a technical perspective: “enabling third parties to interact with
>> the functionality of [MongoDB] remotely through a computer network”;
>> - From a value-based perspective: “offering a service the value of which
>> entirely or primarily derives from the value of [MongoDB]”; and
>> - From a functional perspective: “offering a service that accomplishes
>> for users the primary purpose of [MongoDB].”
>> Put another way, Section 13 applies to a licensee that takes MongoDB’s
>> open-source code and uses it to offer MongoDB as a service to end users --
>> without adding any material, additional functionality -- such that the main
>> reason licensee’s end user would use the service would be to obtain the
>> functionality of MongoDB itself. In those cases, Section 13 requires the
>> licensee to contribute to the open source community by making the code
>> required to run its service available under an OSI- or FSF-approved
>> For the vast majority of our users, the rules of the road have not
>> changed or, if anything, have been made easier to manage. It’s harder,
>> operationally, to determine if you have modified software (the AGPL
>> trigger), than to determine the overall purpose for which the software is
>> being used (the SSPL trigger).
>> Since October, we have had numerous customers and users reach out to
>> discuss our licensing change and ask whether their products and services
>> trigger the obligations of Section 13. In these discussions, we have been
>> able to explain the changes to Section 13, confirm that they apply only in
>> a very specific circumstance, and alleviate concerns that ‘normal’ use of
>> MongoDB internally or as part of a customer’s application triggers Section
>> 13. We remain optimistic that we can clarify the license and allay the
>> same concerns in this license-review forum. To that end, we continue to
>> digest comments, feedback, and suggestions, and intend to offer revised
>> language to clarify our intent for your consideration and feedback shortly.
>> On Tue, Dec 11, 2018 at 1:20 PM Eliot Horowitz <eliot at mongodb.com> wrote:
>>> Salil Deshpande’s TechCrunch article was raised in a prior posting on
>>> this list. To avoid any confusion, we would like to make it clear that
>>> Salil is not affiliated with MongoDB, and his remarks should not be
>>> attributed to us. We would like to point out our response for those that
>>> are interested:
>>> . Mr. Deshpande is focused on issues similar to those we are facing, but he
>>> has advocated a very different solution: a limited license in the form of
>>> the Commons Clause. Limited licenses are nothing new. MongoDB, on the
>>> other hand, has gone to significant effort to try to find an innovative
>>> open source solution to the problem. We request that members of this list
>>> keep the discussion on this list focused on the topic of whether the SSPL
>>> conforms to the Open Source Definition.
>>> We would also like to address a couple of issues that have been raised
>>> since our submission of the updated version of the SSPL:
>>> Members have flagged the fact that the copyleft provisions of SSPL
>>> extend to other software that is used to make the Program available as a
>>> service. As we stated in our prior response (
>>> we believe that in the modern context, where linking has been superseded by
>>> the provision of programs as services and the connection of programs over
>>> networks as the main form of program combination, this form of copyleft is
>>> appropriate and conforms to the Open Source Definition.
>>> Members of the list have also expressed concern about what constitutes
>>> “Making the functionality of the Program… available as a service.” We
>>> would like to note that we have provided specific guidance on this in
>>> Section 13:
>>> Making the functionality of the Program or modified version available to
>>> third parties as a service includes, without limitation, enabling third
>>> parties to interact with the functionality of the Program or modified
>>> version remotely through a computer network, offering a service the value
>>> of which
>>> entirely or primarily derives from the value of the Program or modified
>>> version, or offering a service that accomplishes for users the primary
>>> purpose of the Program or modified version.
>>> In contrast, Section 13 of AGPL, the flagship network copyleft license,
>>> only says “your modified version must prominently offer all users
>>> interacting with it remotely through a computer network...” with no
>>> additional guidance as to what that means. While perhaps not perfect, we
>>> think that the SSPL language is more detailed and easier to understand. We
>>> intend for the SSPL to be useable by others who have written other
>>> software, and to withstand changing interpretation as technology itself
>>> changes -- that’s a goal of any good open source license. We cannot do
>>> that and, simultaneously, remove all doubt as to what constitutes
>>> software-as-a-service in every instance.
>>> We realize that during the holiday season the volunteers on this list
>>> may need more time to comment, and we look forward to more comments and
>>> discussion in the coming weeks.
>>> On Wed, Nov 21, 2018 at 5:37 PM Eliot Horowitz <eliot at mongodb.com>
>>>> Thank you for your comments on the Server Side Public License. Below
>>>> is an updated version of the Server Side Public License, which we are
>>>> submitting for review in lieu of version 1.0. If this version is approved
>>>> by OSI, we plan to apply it to the next release of our MongoDB software,
>>>> which is currently available under version 1.0.
>>>> In this version, we have made several significant substantive changes
>>>> in Section 13, we well as certain conforming and non-substantive changes.
>>>> Members of the list expressed concerns that compliance with the source
>>>> code sharing conditions of Section 13 would not be feasible, because in
>>>> common technology environments today, some parts of the Service Source Code
>>>> would be proprietary, or subject to incompatible open source licenses. To
>>>> address this concern, we have clarified that the source code sharing
>>>> condition of Section 13 does not require delivery of Major Components or
>>>> System Libraries. We have also added the option to make the Service Source
>>>> Code (other than the Corresponding Source for the Program itself) available
>>>> under OSI or FSF approved licenses, to the extent that the licensee does
>>>> not have the right to share the Service Source Code under the terms of the
>>>> Members had also expressed concerns about whether the SSPL meets OSD 9
>>>> -- that the license must not restrict other software. While we think
>>>> version 1 met with this plank of the definition, and explained why in our
>>>> initial submission, we made the changes described above in part to further
>>>> address this concern, by limiting the source code that must be made
>>>> available subject to this license and adding the option to make the source
>>>> code available under other open source licenses.
>>>> Below is a list of changes. The revised license appears after the
>>>> listed changes, in plaintext.
>>>> Substantive changes:
>>>> --Version number changed from 1 to 2
>>>> --Date changed to November [____] 2018
>>>> --Section 13, first sentence: added “or, solely with respect to any
>>>> programs (other than the Program or a modified version) for which you do
>>>> not have the right to make the Corresponding Source available under the
>>>> terms of this License, under the terms of a license that has been approved
>>>> by the Open Source Initiative or categorized by the Free Software
>>>> Foundation as free”
>>>> --Section 13, second paragraph: added “(other than programs that are
>>>> Major Components or System Libraries)” after “all programs”
>>>> --Section 13, second paragraph: “storage software and hosting software”
>>>> changed to “host orchestration software”
>>>> Non-substantive and conforming changes:
>>>> --Definition of This License: added “the”
>>>> --Section 5, last sentence: “Without limiting section 13,” added
>>>> --Section 8: “or otherwise use” added in two places
>>>> --Section 9: added “single” before “copy”
>>>> --Section 9: “use” added to “propagate or modify” and “using” added to
>>>> “modifying or propagating”
>>>> --Section 13: “a” replaces “the” in first line of Service Source Code
>>>> A PLAINTEXT VERSION OF THE LICENSE FOLLOWS:
>>>> Server Side Public License
>>>> VERSION 2, NOVEMBER [XX], 2018
>>>> Copyright © 2018 MongoDB, Inc.
>>>> Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this
>>>> license document, but changing it is not allowed.
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>>>> thus licensed is called the contributor's “contributor version”.
>>>> A contributor's “essential patent claims” are all patent claims owned
>>>> or controlled by the contributor, whether already acquired or hereafter
>>>> acquired, that would be infringed by some manner, permitted by this
>>>> License, of making, using, or selling its contributor version, but do not
>>>> include claims that would be infringed only as a consequence of further
>>>> modification of the contributor version. For purposes of this definition,
>>>> “control” includes the right to grant patent sublicenses in a manner
>>>> consistent with the requirements of this License.
>>>> Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free
>>>> patent license under the contributor's essential patent claims, to make,
>>>> use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate
>>>> the contents of its contributor version.
>>>> In the following three paragraphs, a “patent license” is any express
>>>> agreement or commitment, however denominated, not to enforce a patent (such
>>>> as an express permission to practice a patent or covenant not to sue for
>>>> patent infringement). To “grant” such a patent license to a party means to
>>>> make such an agreement or commitment not to enforce a patent against the
>>>> If you convey a covered work, knowingly relying on a patent license,
>>>> and the Corresponding Source of the work is not available for anyone to
>>>> copy, free of charge and under the terms of this License, through a
>>>> publicly available network server or other readily accessible means, then
>>>> you must either (1) cause the Corresponding Source to be so available, or
>>>> (2) arrange to deprive yourself of the benefit of the patent license for
>>>> this particular work, or (3) arrange, in a manner consistent with the
>>>> requirements of this License, to extend the patent license to downstream
>>>> recipients. “Knowingly relying” means you have actual knowledge that, but
>>>> for the patent license, your conveying the covered work in a country, or
>>>> your recipient's use of the covered work in a country, would infringe one
>>>> or more identifiable patents in that country that you have reason to
>>>> believe are valid.
>>>> If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or
>>>> arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered
>>>> work, and grant a patent license to some of the parties receiving the
>>>> covered work authorizing them to use, propagate, modify or convey a
>>>> specific copy of the covered work, then the patent license you grant is
>>>> automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works
>>>> based on it.
>>>> A patent license is “discriminatory” if it does not include within the
>>>> scope of its coverage, prohibits the exercise of, or is conditioned on the
>>>> non-exercise of one or more of the rights that are specifically granted
>>>> under this License. You may not convey a covered work if you are a party to
>>>> an arrangement with a third party that is in the business of distributing
>>>> software, under which you make payment to the third party based on the
>>>> extent of your activity of conveying the work, and under which the third
>>>> party grants, to any of the parties who would receive the covered work from
>>>> you, a discriminatory patent license (a) in connection with copies of the
>>>> covered work conveyed by you (or copies made from those copies), or (b)
>>>> primarily for and in connection with specific products or compilations that
>>>> contain the covered work, unless you entered into that arrangement, or that
>>>> patent license was granted, prior to 28 March 2007.
>>>> Nothing in this License shall be construed as excluding or limiting any
>>>> implied license or other defenses to infringement that may otherwise be
>>>> available to you under applicable patent law.
>>>> 12. No Surrender of Others' Freedom.
>>>> If conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or
>>>> otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not
>>>> excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot use,
>>>> propagate or convey a covered work so as to satisfy simultaneously your
>>>> obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as
>>>> a consequence you may not use, propagate or convey it at all. For example,
>>>> if you agree to terms that obligate you to collect a royalty for further
>>>> conveying from those to whom you convey the Program, the only way you could
>>>> satisfy both those terms and this License would be to refrain entirely from
>>>> conveying the Program.
>>>> 13. Offering the Program as a Service.
>>>> If you make the functionality of the Program or a modified version
>>>> available to third parties as a service, you must make the Service Source
>>>> Code available via network download to everyone at no charge, under the
>>>> terms of this License or, solely with respect to any programs (other than
>>>> the Program or a modified version) for which you do not have the right to
>>>> make the Corresponding Source available under the terms of this License,
>>>> under the terms of a license that has been approved by the Open Source
>>>> Initiative or categorized by the Free Software Foundation as free. Making
>>>> the functionality of the Program or modified version available to third
>>>> parties as a service includes, without limitation, enabling third parties
>>>> to interact with the functionality of the Program or modified version
>>>> remotely through a computer network, offering a service the value of which
>>>> entirely or primarily derives from the value of the Program or modified
>>>> version, or offering a service that accomplishes for users the primary
>>>> purpose of the Program or modified version.
>>>> “Service Source Code” means the Corresponding Source for the Program or
>>>> a modified version, and the Corresponding Source for all programs (other
>>>> than programs that are Major Components or System Libraries) that you use
>>>> to make the Program or modified version available as a service, including,
>>>> without limitation, management software, user interfaces, application
>>>> program interfaces, automation software, monitoring software, backup
>>>> software, and host orchestration software, all such that a user could run
>>>> an instance of the service using the Service Source Code you make
>>>> 14. Revised Versions of this License.
>>>> MongoDB, Inc. may publish revised and/or new versions of the Server
>>>> Side Public License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in
>>>> spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new
>>>> problems or concerns.
>>>> Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Program
>>>> specifies that a certain numbered version of the Server Side Public License
>>>> “or any later version” applies to it, you have the option of following the
>>>> terms and conditions either of that numbered version or of any later
>>>> version published by MongoDB, Inc. If the Program does not specify a
>>>> version number of the Server Side Public License, you may choose any
>>>> version ever published by MongoDB, Inc.
>>>> If the Program specifies that a proxy can decide which future versions
>>>> of the Server Side Public License can be used, that proxy's public
>>>> statement of acceptance of a version permanently authorizes you to choose
>>>> that version for the Program.
>>>> Later license versions may give you additional or different
>>>> permissions. However, no additional obligations are imposed on any author
>>>> or copyright holder as a result of your choosing to follow a later version.
>>>> 15. Disclaimer of Warranty.
>>>> THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY
>>>> APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT
>>>> HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES PROVIDE THE PROGRAM “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY
>>>> OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO,
>>>> THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR
>>>> PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM
>>>> IS WITH YOU. SHOULD THE PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL
>>>> NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION.
>>>> 16. Limitation of Liability.
>>>> IN NO EVENT UNLESS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW OR AGREED TO IN WRITING
>>>> WILL ANY COPYRIGHT HOLDER, OR ANY OTHER PARTY WHO MODIFIES AND/OR CONVEYS
>>>> THE PROGRAM AS PERMITTED ABOVE, BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR DAMAGES, INCLUDING ANY
>>>> GENERAL, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE
>>>> USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE PROGRAM (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO LOSS OF
>>>> DATA OR DATA BEING RENDERED INACCURATE OR LOSSES SUSTAINED BY YOU OR THIRD
>>>> PARTIES OR A FAILURE OF THE PROGRAM TO OPERATE WITH ANY OTHER PROGRAMS),
>>>> EVEN IF SUCH HOLDER OR OTHER PARTY HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF
>>>> SUCH DAMAGES.
>>>> 17. Interpretation of Sections 15 and 16.
>>>> If the disclaimer of warranty and limitation of liability provided
>>>> above cannot be given local legal effect according to their terms,
>>>> reviewing courts shall apply local law that most closely approximates an
>>>> absolute waiver of all civil liability in connection with the Program,
>>>> unless a warranty or assumption of liability accompanies a copy of the
>>>> Program in return for a fee.
>>>> END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS
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