[opensource] Open Source Licence Challange
daniel.mcennis at mail.mcgill.ca
Wed Apr 19 17:55:47 EDT 2006
I've been lurking on the list for a while. I was a member of OSUOSS 4
some years ago when I was at OSU for my undergrad. (I'm currently
finishing a masters at McGill in Montreal, Canada). As someone who has
released a few projects under opensource licenses, talking about the
'best' license is not really productive. Each license serves a
particular purpose. If your interest is in the greatest use of your
code, then licenses like public domain, BSD, or MIT are useful. If your
interest is in building a really good library that you want as many
people as possible to use, but you don't want anyone freeloading off
your work to create a rival proprietary library, LGPL is quite useful.
If your interest is making sure no one can free load off your
application at all, GPL is a good choice. (Ironically, GPL is the most
buisness friendly: it allows a company to opensource technologies while
preventing any other company from folding their product back into a
competing proprietary product.) Picking a 'best' license is a good
topic for a flame war, but it really doesn't serve a useful purpose.
There are just too many different reasons to opensource something.
Steven James Samuel Stapleton wrote:
> Greetings Ladies, Gentlemen and Artificial Intelligences...
> I am Jim Stapleton, a recent OSU graduate, who unfortunately never
> knew about this club until I after graduation, when a still-undergrad
> friend told me of it.
> With that introduction done, I have an idea for all of you, for a
> little fun, mental exercise, community building, and what open source
> is all about; giving to the world.
> I propose the Open Source License Challenge, wherein we discuss the
> various open source licenses, their pros, cons, and maybe, just maybe,
> create the best open source license ever, the OSU License!
> To start the thoughts, I'll give you mine on a couple of licenses
> I've always like the BSD/MIT licenses, they are truly free licenses,
> granting the user a carte-blanche (sp?) to do what they want with the
> software. Really, the only thing prohibited by the BSD/MIT license is
> use of the author names as product endorsement.
> PRO: Truly free, very open and friendly to any person or group
> CON: Commercial organizations, and even non-commercial organizations,
> can use software under this license, if it is the only one used, make
> money off of it, and not provide a fair share/compensation to the
> developers for their work.
> These two licenses, are related, but, in my opinion, still vastly
> difference. I have trouble considering the GPL to be anything but the
> Benedict Arnold of the free software licenses. Sure it claims to be
> "free software", but it provides so many restrictions, that there are
> closed source software licenses that give you more freedom. Not only
> that but the GPL is somewhat viral, infecting software that uses GPLed
> software. The LGPL allows for many use of software, without requiring
> it be placed on the software that is using an LGPLed library.
> PRO: Highly preventative of abusive use of the library/software for
> 3rd party financial gain or use.
> CON: Not flexible, rather restrictive, not as friendly for commercial
> software (however commercial support works well)
> PRO: Friendly for a wide variety of uses than the regular GPL, rather
> well balanced, etc.
> CON: Still somewhat restrictive, though not horribly, can still be
> abused by people who want to make money off of someone else's work.
> The challenge: A "UNIX" themed license template, allowing for
> flexibility and a wide variety of uses - keeping the advantages of
> many licenses, and mending the drawbacks. How does one make a "UNIX"
> themed license? Well the UNIX style of doing things is to have a lot
> of little applications that can be glued together with a little
> digital-glue to make applications to do other tasks. This license
> would be a glue to hold together several licenses to help provide a
> more flexible and friendly license for all parties. I was thinking of
> something setup similar to a "switch" statement - many cases for
> various users, and a default for everyone else, but that would not be
> required. A context free grammar for the license would be interesting
> as well...
> Even if you aren't interested in the challenge, a discussion on the
> merits and problems of each license would be interesting.
> Have fun,
> Opensource mailing list
> Opensource at cse.ohio-state.edu
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