License for EVM?

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Thu Aug 14 2003 - 17:34:22 CDT

I believe we should explicitly declare what license our EVM software
will have. We have always said it will be "open source" (OS), but there
are many different OS licenses. At the very least, we should pick
something that is OSI (Open Source Initiative) approved, but which
particular one depends on how we perceive our purposes.

I think we should choose one of the "big four" choices. Lots of
projects like Mozilla, Apple, Alladin, have their own minor variations,
usually to stick in a few clauses about the particular
companies/organizations involved. But we don't need such extra
complication. I perceive the choices as (simplifying the options):

    Public Domain:
        Not really a license at all, but the lack of any copyright claim
        in the first place. Anyone can do whatever they want with our
        code (except prevent us from using our own code, which belongs
        to no one).

    BSD:
        Largely the same principle as public domain. Anyone can use our
        code. Some variations require that they attribute us in any
        derived application. Some lawyers (but certainly not all) feel
        that the Berne Convention and later copyright law doesn't really
        have a concept of "releasing to public domain", so the BSD is
        more explicit.

    LGPL:
        Anyone producing a directly derived work must release it as LGPL
        (or as GPL). However, developers may let their applications
        use "late binding" to our code without incurring restrictions on
        the license terms of their own code. E.g. they can utilize a
        .DLL, .so or .dynlib we produce, but not change ours (except by
        also releasing their enhancement).

    GPL:
        Anyone who uses our code as a basis for something else is
        required to release their application as GPL also. Derived
        works enter a contract to remain perpetually free.

My own take is that we should call everything we do public domain. This
seems consistent with the quasi-governmental nature of our project (in
the good old days of democracy, all material produced by the gov't was
automatically public domain). But I think being explicit about any
option is more important than choosing this particular approach.

I'm biased inasmuch as my own Gnosis Utilities are released to the
public domain. Hmmm... what about wxPython/wxWindows?

Yours, David...
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Received on Sun Aug 31 23:17:09 2003

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