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Re: ocaml, QPL and the DFSG: New ocaml licence proposal.

On Sun, Aug 01, 2004 at 11:07:34AM +0200, Francesco Poli wrote:
> On Sun, 1 Aug 2004 09:03:31 +0200 Sven Luther wrote:
> > > It forces me to grant to the initial developer more rights to my
> > > code than he/she granted me to his/her own code.
> > 
> > Easy, you place your patch under the QPL, and then if upstream applies
> > the patch, he clearly makes a modification of your work, and gives you
> > the same right back with regard of the original software, so it is not
> > non-free, but not really what upstream expected in the first place.
> I don't read QPL 3b that way.
> | 3. You may make modifications to the Software and distribute your
> | modifications, in a form that is separate from the Software, such as
> | patches. The following restrictions apply to modifications:
> [...]
> |       b. When modifications to the Software are released under this
> |       license, a non-exclusive royalty-free right is granted to the
> |       initial developer of the Software to distribute your
> |       modification in future versions of the Software provided such
> |       versions remain available under these terms in addition to any
> |       other license(s) of the initial developer.
> When I release my modification to the Software under the QPL, the
> initial developer (of the Original Software) automatically gets more
> rights than anybody else: he/she gets a right that goes beyond the ones
> granted by the QPL to mere mortals. Actually the initial developer gets
> the right to take my modification and relicense it under *any* other
> license (as long as the modification is applied to the Original Software
> and the result is also available under the QPL).

Notice that the patch is a fully separate entity, and that 3b only comes into
play if you release the patch as QPL, and you only need to do so, if you want
to release binaries also. Now, in the case of a patch to another software, can
you say that the patch is a modification of the original work (i guess yes),
without saying that the original work with the patch applied is also a
modification (and thus a derived work) of the actual patch. Imagine a patch
that is of bigger size/complexity/importance than the original software for

Now, what would be your ground for the original author not respecting the QPL
of the patch ? He is allowed to apply its proprietary licence, as long as he
also adds the patch to the QPLed version, thus allowing you the same rigths
under the QPL back ? 

> He/She does not need any other permission to do so: he/she is not
> subject to the QPL license applied to my modification, because he/she
> automatically gets a more permissive grant from me on the basis of the
> QPL license applied to the Original Software.

Yeah, but notice the : "provided such versions remain available under these

> And I cannot refuse to grant him/her this right (as long as I want to
> release my modification under the QPL): if I refuse, I'm violating the
> QPL license. In the meanwhile I have no such right with respect to the
> Original Software.

Well, no, but he cannot refuse to grant you the same rights, does he ?

> Again: IMHO this does not satisfy DFSG 3.

The DFSG #3 says :

  The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them
  to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original

The point at hand is : "to be distributed under the same terms as the license
of the original software.".

Since nothing is stopping you from releasing your patches under the QPL, i
don't see what the problem is.

Now, i would like a serious discussion on this issue, as this all seems logic,
but seems to me a rather serious loophole in the QPL, so i wonder what the
trap is. It may be a real reason for upstream to drop the QPL for some other
licence if it becomes true, because it would allow the author of a patch they
applied to relicence the whole stuff under the 2-clause BSD licence, and then
from there to any licence he likes, so i am a bit dubious.


Sven Luther

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