Debian-legal summary of the OSL v2.0
The OSL (Open Software License) v2.0 is not a DFSG free license.
- Item #5 "External Deployment" places distribution-like burdens on
deployment. E.g., when the Work is made available for use over a
network source must be distributed. This is a use restriction. While
the DFSG does not explicitly prohibit this, the consensus on
debian-legal is that this is non-free.
- Item #9 "Acceptance and Termination" requires the licensee to
acknowledge acceptance of the license. According to the Dissident
Test this is a significant restriction on distribution (DFSG #1).
- Item #6 "Attribution Rights" requires retention of any "Attribution
Notice," even if false. There are no restrictions on what may be
considered an attribution notice, so there are no clear limits on what
materials must be retained. This restricts modification (DFSG #3).
- Item #10 "Termination for Patent Action" terminates the license if you
are involved in a suit with a licensor over "a patent applicable to
software", or against anyone else over a patent relating to the Work.
This clause is much too broad, and restricts all the freedoms that the
If you want a copyleft license for your work debian-legal recommends the
Any attempt to modify the license to pass the DFSG would need to address
the four issues above.
NOTE: The above is not legal advice. If you need legal advice you
should contact an attorney.
The OSL v2.0 can be found at:
It is included in full below.
 See item 8 in the DFSG FAQ:
Open Software License
This Open Software License (the "License") applies to any original work
of authorship (the "Original Work") whose owner (the "Licensor") has
placed the following notice immediately following the copyright notice
for the Original Work: Licensed under the Open Software License version
1) Grant of Copyright License. Licensor hereby grants You a world-wide,
royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, sublicenseable license to do
a) to reproduce the Original Work in copies;
b) to prepare derivative works ("Derivative Works") based upon the Original Work;
c) to distribute copies of the Original Work and Derivative Works to the
public, with the proviso that copies of Original Work or Derivative
Works that You distribute shall be licensed under the Open Software
d) to perform the Original Work publicly; and
e) to display the Original Work publicly.
2) Grant of Patent License. Licensor hereby grants You a world-wide,
royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, sublicenseable license, under
patent claims owned or controlled by the Licensor that are embodied
in the Original Work as furnished by the Licensor, to make, use, sell
and offer for sale the Original Work and Derivative Works.
3) Grant of Source Code License. The term "Source Code" means the
preferred form of the Original Work for making modifications to it
and all available documentation describing how to modify the Original
Work. Licensor hereby agrees to provide a machine-readable copy of
the Source Code of the Original Work along with each copy of the
Original Work that Licensor distributes. Licensor reserves the right
to satisfy this obligation by placing a machine-readable copy of the
Source Code in an information repository reasonably calculated to
permit inexpensive and convenient access by You for as long as
Licensor continues to distribute the Original Work, and by publishing
the address of that information repository in a notice immediately
following the copyright notice that applies to the Original Work.
4) Exclusions From License Grant. Neither the names of Licensor, nor the
names of any contributors to the Original Work, nor any of their
trademarks or service marks, may be used to endorse or promote
products derived from this Original Work without express prior
written permission of the Licensor. Nothing in this License shall be
deemed to grant any rights to trademarks, copyrights, patents, trade
secrets or any other intellectual property of Licensor except as
expressly stated herein. No patent license is granted to make, use,
sell or offer to sell embodiments of any patent claims other than the
licensed claims defined in Section 2. No right is granted to the
trademarks of Licensor even if such marks are included in the
Original Work. Nothing in this License shall be interpreted to
prohibit Licensor from licensing under different terms from this
License any Original Work that Licensor otherwise would have a right
5) External Deployment. The term "External Deployment" means the use or
distribution of the Original Work or Derivative Works in any way such
that the Original Work or Derivative Works may be used by anyone
other than You, whether the Original Work or Derivative Works are
distributed to those persons or made available as an application
intended for use over a computer network. As an express condition
for the grants of license hereunder, You agree that any External
Deployment by You of a Derivative Work shall be deemed a distribution
and shall be licensed to all under the terms of this License, as
prescribed in section 1(c) herein.
6) Attribution Rights. You must retain, in the Source Code of any
Derivative Works that You create, all copyright, patent or trademark
notices from the Source Code of the Original Work, as well as any
notices of licensing and any descriptive text identified therein as
an "Attribution Notice." You must cause the Source Code for any
Derivative Works that You create to carry a prominent Attribution
Notice reasonably calculated to inform recipients that You have
modified the Original Work.
7) Warranty of Provenance and Disclaimer of Warranty. Licensor warrants
that the copyright in and to the Original Work and the patent rights
granted herein by Licensor are owned by the Licensor or are
sublicensed to You under the terms of this License with the
permission of the contributor(s) of those copyrights and patent
rights. Except as expressly stated in the immediately proceeding
sentence, the Original Work is provided under this License on an "AS
IS" BASIS and WITHOUT WARRANTY, either express or implied, including,
without limitation, the warranties of NON-INFRINGEMENT,
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK
AS TO THE QUALITY OF THE ORIGINAL WORK IS WITH YOU. This DISCLAIMER
OF WARRANTY constitutes an essential part of this License. No
license to Original Work is granted hereunder except under this
8) Limitation of Liability. Under no circumstances and under no legal
theory, whether in tort (including negligence), contract, or
otherwise, shall the Licensor be liable to any person for any direct,
indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of any
character arising as a result of this License or the use of the
Original Work including, without limitation, damages for loss of
goodwill, work stoppage, computer failure or malfunction, or any and
all other commercial damages or losses. This limitation of liability
shall not apply to liability for death or personal injury resulting
from Licensor's negligence to the extent applicable law prohibits
such limitation. Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or
limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so this exclusion
and limitation may not apply to You.
9) Acceptance and Termination. If You distribute copies of the Original
Work or a Derivative Work, You must make a reasonable effort under
the circumstances to obtain the express assent of recipients to the
terms of this License. Nothing else but this License (or another
written agreement between Licensor and You) grants You permission to
create Derivative Works based upon the Original Work or to exercise
any of the rights granted in Section 1 herein, and any attempt to do
so except under the terms of this License (or another written
agreement between Licensor and You) is expressly prohibited by
U.S. copyright law, the equivalent laws of other countries, and by
international treaty. Therefore, by exercising any of the rights
granted to You in Section 1 herein, You indicate Your acceptance of
this License and all of its terms and conditions. This License shall
terminate immediately and you may no longer exercise any of the
rights granted to You by this License upon Your failure to honor the
proviso in Section 1(c) herein.
10) Termination for Patent Action. This License shall terminate
automatically and You may no longer exercise any of the rights
granted to You by this License as of the date You commence an
action, including a cross-claim or counterclaim, for patent
infringement (i) against Licensor with respect to a patent
applicable to software or (ii) against any entity with respect to a
patent applicable to the Original Work (but excluding combinations
of the Original Work with other software or hardware).
11) Jurisdiction, Venue and Governing Law. Any action or suit relating
to this License may be brought only in the courts of a jurisdiction
wherein the Licensor resides or in which Licensor conducts its
primary business, and under the laws of that jurisdiction excluding
its conflict-of-law provisions. The application of the United
Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods
is expressly excluded. Any use of the Original Work outside the
scope of this License or after its termination shall be subject to
the requirements and penalties of the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C.
101 et seq., the equivalent laws of other countries, and
international treaty. This section shall survive the termination of
12) Attorneys Fees. In any action to enforce the terms of this License
or seeking damages relating thereto, the prevailing party shall be
entitled to recover its costs and expenses, including, without
limitation, reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in
connection with such action, including any appeal of such action.
This section shall survive the termination of this License.
13) Miscellaneous. This License represents the complete agreement
concerning the subject matter hereof. If any provision of this
License is held to be unenforceable, such provision shall be
reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforceable.
14) Definition of "You" in This License. "You" throughout this License,
whether in upper or lower case, means an individual or a legal
entity exercising rights under, and complying with all of the terms
of, this License. For legal entities, "You" includes any entity
that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with
you. For purposes of this definition, "control" means (i) the
power, direct or indirect, to cause the direction or management of
such entity, whether by contract or otherwise, or (ii) ownership of
fifty percent (50%) or more of the outstanding shares, or (iii)
beneficial ownership of such entity.
15) Right to Use. You may use the Original Work in all ways not
otherwise restricted or conditioned by this License or by law, and
Licensor promises not to interfere with or be responsible for such
uses by You.
This license is Copyright (C) 2003 Lawrence E. Rosen. All rights
reserved. Permission is hereby granted to copy and distribute this
license without modification. This license may not be modified without
the express written permission of its copyright owner.
Jeremy Hankins <email@example.com>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333 9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03