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Re: Is OSL 2.0 compliant with DFSG?

Anders Torger <torger@ludd.luth.se> wrote:
> On Saturday 10 April 2004 15.44, Jeremy Hankins wrote:
> > > For the question in the subject line: I still think that OSL 2.0 is
> > > not DFSG-free because it terminates copyright permission for any
> > > software patent action, including ones unrelated to the covered
> > > software. The Licensor is also free to initiate patent actions
> > > against the Licensee and this seems to hinder the Licensee's
> > > defence. I see this as a type of bad termination clause, which
> > > wouldn't be tolerated for copyrights alone.
> >
> > There are other problems as well.  Besides the patent clause:
> >
> > #5 places a distribution-like burden on certain types of use (e.g.,
> > use as part of a web server and you must distribute source).
> I thought this was no different than from the GPL, it is just more 
> clearly stated here in the OSL. But perhaps I am wrong?

I use Google.  If Google used OSL licensed code, then they would have
to make the source available.  That is not the case with GPL'd works.

> The idea is that you can modify source code and make derivative works, 
> and you do not need to release the source code as long as you do not 
> deploy the software externally.

The critical distinction here is between deploy and copy.  The OSL
mandates source code for deployment (which can include making copies),
while the GPL only requires it for copying.

> However, now to the important point here, since GPL and OSL gives the 
> user more rights than she/he would have if the license is not accepted, 
> click-wrap is only a theoretical problem.

This is not true.  The OSL goes beyond the domain of copyright, and
that is perhaps why they require a click-wrap.  For example, if I
lawfully acquire a copy of GPL licensed code, I can use it to my
heart's content without worrying about the GPL.  It is only when I want
to make copies that I need concern myself with the GPL.  The OSL, in
contrast, wants to put some burdens on usage.

> And a comment on #10, the patent action clause. I think DFSG should be 
> changed if necessary to allow these kind of clauses. The clause does 
> not discriminate anyone, it is just a small protection against the 
> largest threat against free software there is -- software patents. 
> Nearly all commercial licenses have these type of clauses.

If you want a patent protection clause, use something like the IBM
CPL.  It revokes _patent_ licenses, not copyright licenses.  It has
the benefit of already being accepted into Debian, although there has
been a little grumbling about it.

> And to a final question, if I change the license to OSL for my software, 
> can it then no longer be distributed with Debian?

The final decision rests with the ftp-masters, but I don't think that
Debian will distribute it.

Walter Landry

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