License reading

Here’s some lazy Sunday reading about software licenses.  Before you panic and quickly click away to something more fun, these are not flamewars.

This InformIT interview with David Chisnall of Étoilé talks about various things, but has an interesting note about BSD code and Apple about halfway down.

I think this is a much better way of encouraging corporate involvement in open source than legal bludgeons like the GPL. The BSD license is easy for even a non-lawyer to read and understand, so there is no confusion when using BSD-licensed code.

I’m thinking about this because there are people who still can’t figure out the difference.

Along the same lines, I was surprised by the number of open source programs found just by license listing in the new Palm Pre.  I wish I had a spare $200.

Wandering even farther off topic, is Étoilé what Windowmaker should have evolved into?

One Reply to “License reading”

  1. Saifi Khan says:

    The literate are far more vulnerable to ‘ideological rhetoric’ than the practical !

    The most important thing to know as far a OSI-certified license is concerned is, ‘license clause apply only once a modification is made’.

    All the points in the checklist evolve from ‘what rights am i (the owner) willing to forgo to provide some rights to the recipient given the modified piece of work.

    Derivative equals The-Work + Modifications.

    1. You can do what ever you want with the modified work
    2. You can do what you want with the modified work provided you don’t assert patent
    3. You can do what you want with the modified work as long as you show me the code
    4. You cannot do anything with the modified work.

    It is extremely important to place any license discussion in the present perspective and that every project (whether community or company sponsored) is seeking developers.

    The perceived succcess of a license is due to the developers doing five things right to push the software in the market.
    1. introducing a disrupting innovation at market cusp (eg. 2001-2002, 2009-2010)
    2. pushing forward a dominant design (eg. Netbook)
    3. building up network effects through vibrant community (eg. Barack’s campaign).
    4. communicating, communicating, communicating (ie. talk a lot).
    5. execution with a sense of urgency.

    Finally, “free” oriented licenses are more about exceptions and proliferations than actual claimed-for benefits.

    In Year 2009, use Apache Software License 2.0 or DragonFly BSD license and get going to the most important activity ie. creative software development and beat the pants out of competition.


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