mail about licenses from Andrew C. Greenberg
Last updated at 12:15 pm UTC on 8 December 2004
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Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 11:38:02 -0500
From: "Andrew C. Greenberg"
Subject: Re: OS X Server (Darwin) Goes Open Source????
>> How specifically do you think the Squeak Licence should be adjusted?
> I can't see anything wrong with the current version. As far as I
> understand it, it says: "if you improve Squeak you must make the
> improvements public, otherwise do anything you want with your own apps
> including selling them". The Squeak license is therefore much closer
> to the LGPL than to the GPL.
Agreed. I wanted to take a few days before responding to the initial
request so that I could carefully study the question (we lawyers are
like that). My recollection at the time I posted my e-mail was that
the license contained a few too many proprietary reservations of
rights and wasn't really sufficient to meet the needs of the Squeak
community. In practice, of course, everything is working fine.
In a quick review, Ian's remarks are mostly accurate. As a lawyer, I
appreciate the elegance of the Squeak license. It accomplishes most
of the OSS goals without lots of words. Squeak L isn't really
proprietary at all, except with respect to fonts and title, as Ian
noted. I wonder, however, if it is adequately "viral" to assure the
Squeak community's unimpeded access to modifications. The following
are my "seat of the pants" thoughts at this time:
Scope of License. First, it is not apparent to me that licensees are
authorized to distribute copies of the core codes. We are given only
a right to "copy, install and use" the original code, and to "modify
and create derivative works," then only to "distribute and sublicense
such Modified Software." It is unclear whether I am authorized to
give a buddy a copy of Squeak 2.3 until I have made modifications,
and even then, to distribute all unmodified portions.
Viral Nature of License/Software Patents. Second, it isn't clear to
me that the "viral" requirements are adequate to assure distribution
of unobfuscated, human readable source codes (It's amazing what some
obfuscators can do). Finally, I remain concerned that upstream
licensors remain free under the Squeak license to sue downstream
modifiers and users for patent infringement for use of the
modifications. [It may be that the word "use" will be adequate to
create back door licenses to many patents, but I want to muse on that
> The first clause ensures that the community benefits in an open-source
> style, and the second encourages commercial participation because
> original apps (of little interest to most squeakers, but maybe with
> huge commercial potential to the company) are *not* infected with the
> open aspects. On the other hand it requires companies to make public
> releases of all improvements/fixes to the "base" system (which have
> little commercial potential, but are very valuable for all squeakers).
Not bad so far as it goes, but it could go further. Indeed, my
concerns about patents and source codes would probably be adequately
addressed by a more "restrictive" intermediate license, say, from
Disney, to its changes, requiring its downstream licensors to grant
limited patent licenses making, using or selling the code or
substantially similar derivative works created therefrom.
> It maximises both the user base and the "public payback", since
> everybody will benefit from any "commercial" development of the base
It does a very good job, certainly in terms of grant of rights per
paragraph metrics, but I think it may not be as "maximal" as Ian
>> When Eric Raymond & OSF bless an Intellectual Property license from Apple
> The OSF have criticsed Eric Raymond for "blessing" the Applce license
> far too quickly. There are many reasons why the APSL is not an
> open-source license, e.g:
According to Eric, OSI's board unanimously approved the license and
his going public about it also had unanimous approval. I haven't
studied all the criticisms and Raymond's responses, nor even the APSL
itself in detail. On first blush, it seems to me uncontroversially
Open Source, particularly when compared to Mozilla and related
institutional OSS licenses, which have been embraced by the
community. However, on this point I shall remain firmly on the fence
pending considered study.
My original posting was not so much to suggest that licenses required
change, but rather to point out that a short term window of
opportunity now exists to get Apple to grant variances or changes
that make Squeak's license more like APSL, to the extent that is a
good thing. I agree with Ian that the license must remain more
LGPL-like, given the nature of Squeak, lest we kill all incentive to
build meaningful commercial apps.
I wrote more than I wanted or intended to do so at this time. This
e-mail is more core dump than reasoned prose, so I acknowledge the
possibility, indeed likelihood, of error in all of the above, and
apologize in advance for my errors.
Created by the Squeak Mail Archiver on 14 October 1999 at 4:59:13 pm.
But formatting has become worse by putting this text in an Swiki edit window..., the Squeak Mail Archiver is better than this page! [sr]
Stephan, I hope my reformatting has gotten this to look more like what you want BobArning
Bob, thank you! Using < tt > works well for preformatted text. Stephan Rudlof