Open Source Licenses (prompted by the Bitkeeper post)

Chris Olds cco@dydax.com
Thu, 13 Mar 2003 21:30:37 -0500 (EST)


The Open Source Definition (it's ancestor, the Debian Free Source
Guidelines[1]), are very strict in their view of what free (libre) means.
In fact, many applications of the GNU Free Documentation License do not
meet the DFSG, since the GFDL allows restrictions on how one may
redistribute the text (the GFDL has more options than the GPL).

I don't mind liceses that don't meet the DFSG (I've spent my career
writing proprietary closed-source software), but it's nice to know what's
what, so I can choose.  As is often the case, Larry Wall has split this
hair better than anyone I know - first with the Artistic License, and then
with the quantum-uncertainty license that's either the GPL or the Artistic
License, but nobody will say which, especially not Larry; as soon as you
need it to be one (or not the other), that's what it is.
Brilliant stuff, but not enough to make me use Perl instead of Python. ;-)

	/cco

[1] http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines