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Re: RFC: Transitive Grace Period Public Licence

"Zooko O'Whielacronx" <zookog@gmail.com> wrote: [...]
> The Transitive Grace Period Public Licence (TGPPL) is a licence that I
> wrote by adding a small clause to the Open Source License v3.0.

What is this "Open Source License"?  I think you mean the "Open
Software License" shown at
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/osl-3.0.php - if so, then that is a
licence which I feel is unclear, marginal, borders on non-free
(termination of copyright licence for patent action and apparent
choice of venue and appealing to contract law to override a United
Nations Convention), was motivated by advertising OSI and generally
not a good base for new licences.

You can read a summary for OSL 2.1 at
but I also note that there are a few OSL'd packages in debian - I'm
not sure whether any of them have patents actively enforced or a
useable choice-of-venue enforced.

> The
> TGPPL is a "copyleft" or "transitive" licence -- it offers you the
> right to make derived works on the condition that you extend the same
> set of rights to users of your derived works.  The small added clause
> is "no later than 12 months after You distributed or communicated said
> copies" -- this allows the recipient who makes a derived work to
> distribute that derived work without source code for up to 12 months.

If used, this would mean the software fails DFSG 2.  I don't see how
you can change the licence to avoid that, while accommodating the
basic principle.

> [...] By being less
> than infinite (in fact, 12 months), it compels the producers of
> derived works to share their source code.  By being greater than
> zero, it facilitates the use of the capitalist feedback loop, in
> which part of the value that the work produces for others is directed
> back into the input -- directed to making more resources available for
> producing more of such work.

Two problems: philosophically, the capitalist feedback loop is a myth
based on the money trick (for a simple explanation of the trick, see
Robert Tressel's Ragged Trousered Philanthropist); practially, what
happens if the producer ceases to exist (dies or, more probably, is a
corporation that is liquidated) during the grace period?  Then TGPPL
terminates after the grace period and this looks like an easy way for
corporations to avoid sharing the source code.

> My primary reason for writing to debian-legal is to ask if, in your
> opinion, the TGPPLv1.0 is DFSG-free, and if not why not.  If it isn't
> then I will want to amend it until it is.  Also, I am curious if there
> are any strange consequences of including dual-licensed software in
> Debian when one of the licences *isn't* DFSG-free.

Whether the TGPPLv1.0 is DFSG-free isn't that interesting, but
actually the TGPPLv1.0 file itself appears to be infringing Lawrence
Rosen's copyright on OSL, so it shouldn't be included in debian at

The Debian Free Software Guidelines are guidelines for software, not
licences in abstract.  Software under the TGPPLv1.0 may be DFSG-free
as long as the grace period is not used, there are no active patents
and the choice of venue and convention overrides are not used.
However, the above TGPPLv1.0 copyright infringement would be a
practical problem.

I'm not aware of any strange consequences of dual-licensing but it
looks like debian would include only the GNU GPL bits.

> in which I accuse OSI of using their authority to approve
> Open-Source-Definition-conformance for a wider purpose than judging
> the open-sourciness of licences:

That's up to OSI.  They're a self-perpetuating organisation whose
original initiative (the I stands for Initiative, remember) failed,
but OSI refuses to close itself down and distribute its assets to more
general groups like SPI and FSF.  OSI can do whatever it wants and I
think it would be good if the wider developer community realised that.

> in which I dare OSI to sue me for describing TGPPL as "Open Source":

The OSL copyright holder is Lawrence Rosen, not OSI, so I think it is
Lawrence Rosen, not OSI, who could sue you.  In case that's so, I
don't want to repost the copyright-infringing licence for detailed

To summarise: TGPPL appears to infringe Lawrence Rosen' copyright and
software under it may fail DFSG 2, as well as problems shared with OSL.

Hope that helps,
My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
Please follow http://www.uk.debian.org/MailingLists/#codeofconduct

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