[conspire] (forw) (forw) Re: OSI, GAP, and "Exhibit B" licences

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Feb 12 01:45:01 PST 2007

Even though most of you don't follow open source licensing issues, this
may interest some:  About 20 firms, all in the ASP / Web 2.0 market, 
have been promoting as "open source" a license that plainly isn't, and
_Linux Gazette_ has been covering the issue.

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----

Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 01:30:27 -0800
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
To: ben at linuxgazette.net
Subject: (forw) Re: OSI, GAP, and "Exhibit B" licences

Ben --

You know, I drafted the following response, then thought to myself
"Y'know, screw it; let him do his own reading on the basics."

  You won't find a "comment section" because _Linux Gazette_ is a
  monthly magazine; it is neither a Web discussion forum nor a blog.

If I _were_ to engage him in discussion, I'd point out that he'd just
illustrated one of the fundamental and crucial differences between a
magazine and a blog:  In a magazine, we don't retroactively change the
substance of what we've already written and published, just because
events subsequently proved us wrong.

(See also "culture of impermanence".)

Ordinarily, I'd have been tempted to cut this guy some slack and assume
his firm was merely copying SugarCRM's bad licensing idea completely
innocently, but some of his wording on the referenced blog post rings my
"deliberate bullshit" detector:

  When TenderSystem was released under the TPL it was not submitted to
  OSI for certification, as there is pressure to decrease the number of
  approved licenses,[...]

"We weren't _really_ evading the OSI certification process out of bad
faith; we were just trying to help cure licence proliferation."  What a
crock of used cow food.

  [...] even though it adheres to the definitions of open source. 

...with the minor exceptions of OSD provisions #10, 3, and 6, but who's

Christiaan's screed _does_ mention a useful distinction between the ASP
market model and that of "Software as a Service" (SaaS):  I hadn't
realised that the latter differs fundamentally from ASP, in that it's
basically an embedded appliance, e.g., a turnkey server that includes
the Zimbra enterprise mail system.  These firms' occasional presence
(and, more to the point, their commercial competitors' presence) in
the latter (SaaS) market means their basing their one-off licences on a
copyleft licence with no ASP clauses (MPL 1.1) is not as completely
pointless as I first believed:  Competitors reusing their code in SaaS 
appliances _would_ trigger those copyleft clauses.  Only in ASP usage
are those clauses NO-OPs.

Christiaan also links to coverage of the incident that caused SugarCRM
to create this mess in the first place:  By his account, SugarCRM hadn't
realised that its original licence was forkable by commercial ASP
competitors and that the copyleft clauses would have no effect (ASP
deployment being private usage), realising their error only when a firm
called vTiger forked the SugarCRM code with no visible credit to
SugarCRM, Inc. and -- of course -- no obligation to share back changes
(on account of private usage).  

So, SugarCRM overreacted and added the no-trademark-grant and badgeware
addenda -- but still insisted the result's open source because, well,
they say so.

What dumbasses -- since it takes really no talent at all to draft a
simple mandatory-About-screen-to-the-extent-technology-permits clause
that would accomplish all they want without plainly violating the OSD.  

And then 19 other companies including ValueCard dba TenderSystem copied
their error.  Bringing us to where we are today.

----- Forwarded message from Christiaan Erasmus <christiaan at valuecard.co.za> -----

Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 08:54:20 +0200
From: Christiaan Erasmus <christiaan at valuecard.co.za>
Reply-To: christiaan at valuecard.co.za
Organization: ValueCard (PtyL Ltd
To: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
Subject: Re: OSI, GAP, and "Exhibit B" licences


Thanks for the feedback.

I have changed "blog" to article and will read up on the OSI mailing 
list as to the discussions.

I had a look on the Linux Gazette and could not find a comment section 
so could not post a response.

Kind regards

*Christiaan Erasmus*

ValueCard (Pty) Ltd
www.valuecard.co.za <http:/www.valuecard.co.za>

christiaan at valuecard.co.za <mailto:christiaan at valuecard.co.za>
+27 82 326 4824 Cell
+27 21 910 3351 Phone
+27 86 680 1401 Fax
tendersystem <callto:tendersystem> Skype

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-------- Original Message  --------
Subject: Re:OSI, GAP, and "Exhibit B" licences
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
To: Christiaan Erasmus <christiaan at valuecard.co.za>
Cc: ben at linuxgazette.net
Date: 09/02/2007 20:50

>Quoting Christiaan Erasmus (christiaan at valuecard.co.za):
>>I have posted a response to your article "OSI, GAP, and "Exhibit B" 
>>licences" that can be viewed at 
>>I look forward to your comments and hope that it is the start of a 
>>healthy debate.
>Hi, Christian.
>The appropriate place would be the _Linux Gazette_ magazine, so you are
>encouraged to submit some appropriate letter to the editor.
>By the way, no I most certainly did not "blog".  I do not "blog".
>It's called a magazine article.
>If you would like your letter to the editor to be an informed one, I
>would encourage you to read recent relevant threads on the OSI
>license-discuss mailing list.

----- End forwarded message -----

----- End forwarded message -----

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