A Spectrum of Licenses

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-08-17 Print this article Print

The committee also wanted to reflect a spectrum of licenses, from a strong copyleft one to a very permissive one in each category, she said. There are nine licenses in the "popular, widely used category," including the Apache License 2.0, the new BSD license, the GNU GPL (General Public License), the LGPL ("Lesser" General Public License), the MIT license, Mozilla Public License 1.1, Common Development and Distribution License and Eclipse Public License.
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There are also nine licenses that are categorized as "redundant with more popular licenses," including the Academic Free License, and the Attribution Assurance License. Among the 24 non-reusable licenses are the Apple Public Source License, the Computer Associates Trusted Open Source License 1.1, the IBM Public License, the PHP License, the Sleepycat License and the Sun Public License. The goal of the Licensing Proliferation committee was never to recommend the removal of any existing licenses, Peters said, but rather to help drive people to a smaller subset of those licenses. But, at the same time, the committee also realized that licenses needed to be upgraded from time to time and so there will be new licenses that come out and new versions of licenses approved, such as the upcoming GPL version 3.0. "Our goal has never been to eliminate licenses per se," she said. Peters also criticized the ever-growing list of boutique licenses that are springing up, such as the SugarCRM Public License, which are not approved by OSI as meeting the open-source definition. "Having people in different places saying that their licenses are open source when they are not OSI-approved could ultimately undermine open source," she said. Click here to read more about SugarCRMs licensing choices. The second piece of the committees draft report was a recommendation that the OSI board create a license wizard that allows users to go through and identify the characteristics that they feel are important for their particular model. That helps them then narrow down the selection, Peters said. The draft report notes that volunteers from University of Southern California law school and the San Francisco State engineering department are currently working on this Web-based wizard, which will allow people to see which open-source licenses meet criteria that they find important. "For example, if a user indicates that having a copyleft license with explicit patent grants is important, the wizard will look through the OSI-approved licenses and output a list of licenses that meet [or almost meet] those criteria," it says. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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