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All open source licenses are permissive. They give you permission in advance to use the software for any purpose, to improve the software any way you wish and to share the software with whoever you want. They are the opposite of proprietary licenses, which place restrictions on each of these freedoms. Any license with restrictions would not be considered OSD compliant.
All open source licenses include conditions. Some relate to attribution. Some relate to reciprocal licensing. None of them restrict how you can use, improve and share the software, although you must comply with the conditions in order to do so. Some people consider some conditions so onerous they rise to the level of restrictions, but the consensus of the community has been they are wrong.
Today’s licensing games are thus mainly about testing where the accumulated burden of conditions is effectively a restriction – “constructive restriction”. There’s certainly a line where that would become true – for example, where the conditions associated with deploying the software as a cloud service are so hard to comply with that the software is effectively unusable in that field of use.
The OSD doesn’t include much to help with this so it’s contentious every time and sometimes leads to sophistry. This is probably the area where the Open Source Initiative needs to do the most work to modernise the license approval process.
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Simon built a short slideshow for InfoWorld with some of the highlights of the first 20 years of open source. Take a look here.
This article on the Open Education Consortium’s Year of Open site highlights his views on software freedom.
You’ll recall Simon was re-elected to the OSI Board after a year’s absence to satisfy term limits. Following the resignation of the excellent Allison Randal to focus on her PhD, he has now been re-elected as OSI President by the Board. More details can be found in Allison’s article.
Simon’s article explaining why the Facebook license combo used for React.js and much more is a problem was published by the Red Hat OpenSource.Com site today. Because our articles are supported by Patreon Patrons and not reliant on artificial scarcity to pay the bills, we were able to offer Red Hat the article in response to the one by Facebook’s outside counsel yesterday. A win for the patronage economy!
The results are in, and effective April 1st (yes!) Simon has been elected back to the OSI Board by the Affiliates after a year off due to term limits. His platform statement is here.
It’s The Daylight Twilight Zone again! Expect the unexpected…
If you, like us, have a mix of meetings with European and US residents, the next two weeks will inevitably involve some mis-timed meetings since the USA just started daylight savings time and Europe won’t do that until March 27th. One tip is to set an event in your calendar (or, better, a shared events calendar, which is what we use) marked “DST Twilight Zone” as a reminder that peculiar things are going to happen!