The Open Source License Debate
By John Clingan on Feb 17, 2005
I hit SVN's article at eWeek this morning. Some want to address the issue of licenses creating "communities of code" that can't be intermixed. Some just think that many of these licenses are redundant and create confusion. I find this whole "too many licenses" topic interesting although I admittedly delegate most of the core analysis to others (as most of us do). I'll also admit that I am out of my element here, but SVN's article does get me thinking (that's a good thing).
I find SVN's opinion of "OSI Should Close Open-Source Licenses" an oxymoron. IMHO, if the OSI closes off licenses, that won't close off new licenses. The discussion will simply go elsewhere. If someone has a business or "expression" goal in mind and they don't think an existing OSI license covers their intent, they are not going to cram their code into a license that exists. They'll create another license, OSI compliant or not.
Is the role of the OSI to simply sign off on what they think will be a "popular" license? Isn't that counter to what "open" is all about? Perhaps the role of the OSI is as a place for the discussion and evolution of "open" licenses to occur. Seems like a reasonable position, doesn't it?
On a slightly different topic, SVN states the CDDL is controversial. My take is that it isn't the CDDL that is controversial. The controversy is OpenSolaris being placed under the CDDL. If CDDL was a vehicle for Brazil or FreeTTS, would anyone have cared?