Reply to post: Re: Admittedly a fan of a new license

Bruce Perens quits Open Source Initiative amid row over new data-sharing crypto license: 'We've gone the wrong way with licensing'

doublelayer Silver badge

Re: Admittedly a fan of a new license

I don't have an objection to this license per se, but I don't see the merits you have described. It seems about as easy to read as other similarly-sized licenses, and more complex than many shorter ones. Furthermore, I note the following potential problems.

First, there is a clause allowing the original author to dual-license the thing, letting a proprietary version exist. This may sound fine in that a company is unlikely to pay someone for something they can get for free, but it might also allow them to produce an increasing number of different versions under different licenses that will prove in future to be a pain to reintegrate. Worse still, it's not exactly clear who gets the right to dual license. Theoretically, only the original author gets that right. But since this license applies to all parts of a derived work a la GPL, what happens if I update the work of someone else. I might be able to dual license my additions while keeping the original code open, or I might be in violation if I try. I'm almost certainly not allowed to dual license the whole thing, but if I'm able to dual license my additions, I could be able to effectively nullify the requirement to release them under the same license by applying two licenses and then not distributing a version under the original license.

Second, you have expressed that you like the sunset clause. That clause reads as follows: "The conditions in sections 2 through 5 no longer apply once fifteen years have elapsed from the date of My first Distribution of My Work under this License." This looks problematic to me. What does "first distribution" mean? If I release an update, does that count as a subsequent distribution of the original thing or does it start the clock over again? These questions may seem pointless, but it's this type of difficulty with licensing that can hamper innovation or rights to source. If I don't know whether or not I can do something, I'm less likely to work on a project, and companies who wish to take open source and turn it proprietary will jump on a license that has problems allowing them more leeway than was originally intended.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY TECH NEWSLETTER

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020