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[kDev] Bruce Perens replies - suggests modified BSD...



Hi All,

Took Scott Switzer's advice re contacting Bruce. And here's the reply in full...

Cheers Daniel

Begin forwarded message:
From: Bruce Perens
Date: May 27, 2004 6:49:55 pm BST
Subject: Re: Advice for OSS project: Kendra...

If these are your criteria, you should accept the BSD license without the advertising clause. That requires that attribution and the license be passed on, and doesn't require anything else.

This does not require that you join some GPL vs. BSD argument. The BSD license without the advertising clause is GPL-compatible, and is chosen for strategic reasons of your project.

I would caution you that proprietary forks of your product are likely, and this may dissuade volunteer coders who will start to see themselves as unpaid employees of the folks making the proprietary fork. But the Apache project seems to be able to live with this.

   Thanks

   Bruce

Daniel Harris wrote:
Dear Bruce,

We met at the Code conference in UK, April 2001 - lunch with RMS. I am running an open/free source code project called Kendra. We would appreciate some advice regarding software licenses. I am happy to work this any way you choose. We can pay for time. But we can also take time donations too. ;-) So far we have no outside donations - I'm funding this myself. I'm based in the UK but can ring at your convenience if it's easier. So, I guess, let me know you'd like to proceed when you've read through...

The main mission is to build an open platform for content distribution enabling consumers to pay for their content. Kendra, the organisation, is not for profit. We are talking to everyone from artists, content aggregators, service providers and developers. It's a non trivial task. We are not trying to reinvent anything we just want current technologies and payment systems to interoperate.

It became necessary to develop software to enable collaborative design to take place between non skilled people in order for them to understand each others business rules and methods. The software is currently being developed by one person hired by me. Talking with other developers we seem to be going round in circles deciding which license(s) to use or make up our own. It will be compatible and interoperable with the W3C's SemanticWeb but not reliant on it.

We want the software to be used by everyone and anyone for any purpose.

Our requirements are simple and pretty simple:

1. Protect developers and Kendra from being sued because what we created or help create screws up someone's business - so we have no implied warranty. 2. Protect from people coming along and saying "hey, you guys stole my code" - so clarification of ownership. 3. Let people do anything they want with the code. No legal restrictions what so ever. 4. Not having to choose sides in the GPL/BSD battle. Is it just me? After speaking to both "sides" I get the feeling that if I were to choose either the GPL or BSD then I'd instantly be seen to reject the other. Or is it that I've just been speaking to hardliners?

If I have a license with a warranty disclaimer, a copyright notice but no requirement for the license to be attached to modified/redistributed works is this, in fact, public domain? Anything wrong with that in terms of protection points 1 and 2?

Would licensing under a dual or triple license (GPL/BSD/?) help point 4?

Look forward to your thoughts.

Cheers Daniel
Kendra Initiative
http://www.kendra.org.uk