On 01/07/2010 01:40 PM, Julius Davies wrote:
Limiting ourselves to copyright (ignoring patents and trademarks and
other IP), in general would you say a copyright license must either?
1. Be "Free" according to FSF: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
2. Be "Open Source" according to OSI: http://www.opensource.org/docs/osd
It depends upon what context you're asking that question.
If you mean "Does a copyright license have to be either "Free" according
to the FSF definition of "Free" or "Open Source" according to the OSI
definition of "Open Source" in order to be acceptable for Fedora", then
the answer is no.
In Fedora, a copyright license _MUST_ be considered "Free" according to
the FSF definition of "Free". Whether or not a license is considered
"Open Source" by the OSI is irrelevant to Fedora.
The reasoning for this is that while effectively all "Free" copyright
licenses meet the criteria to be considered "Open Source", the inverse
is not true. Historically, some rather poorly worded licenses have been
OSI approved as "Open Source", most notably, the Artistic 1.0 license.
Now, if you're asking that in the larger realm of the known universe,
and mean: Aren't all copyright licenses either "Free" or "Open
the answer is obviously no. :)
I will assume you meant the former rather than the latter, and answer
your additional questions.
If yes, I have three more questions:
a. What is currently the most restrictive license in Fedora that
satisfies either of those definitions?
Impossible to say, because different licenses place different
restrictions on different rights. There are a few licenses which are
considered free only because of the clairifed intent of the copyright
holder (the Sendmail license is a notable example where it is only
considered Free when the copyright holder is Eric Allman, Sendmail Inc.
or the University of California).
b. What is currently the least restrictive license in Fedora that
satisfies either of those?
Well, the obvious answer is Public Domain. But seeing as how Public
Domain is not a true copyright license (it is an abandonment of copyright).
There are many examples of very permissive licenses, which Fedora labels
as "Copyright only", see:
Alternately, the MIT license (and its many, many, many variants) are
considered to be extremely permissive.
c. Are there any examples of Fedora-acceptable licenses that do not
satisfy either of those definitions?
As stated above, all Fedora-acceptable software and font licenses must
be considered "Free" by the FSF definition. Our licensing requirements
for "content" and "firmware" are slightly different, documented here:
I'm curious to know the limits of open source licenses: what
theoretically be the maximum and minimum (in terms of restrictions and
conditions) that fall in the "open source" category of copyright
licenses. Do these hypothetical boundary licenses already exist, e.g.
can we get more restrictive than some kind of GPLv2/Knuth hybrid, and
can we get less restrictive than 2-clause BSD-with-disclaimers?
It is possible to be more restrictive than GPLv2, GPLv3 is in several
ways more restrictive. Again, it depends on which specific areas of
rights we are focusing on. Use is the only right automatically granted
(in the United States), so a license could be more/less restrictive in
the generic areas of:
* etc, etc, etc
I'm vastly generalizing when I say that "Use" is automatically granted,
there are additional narrowing factors there, although, most of them
make a license non-Free (but not necessarily, non-Open Source, although,
I'm presuming those BSD disclaimers actually make it less
than public domain, since these disclaimers seem to remove some
possible default restrictions.
It is not possible to be less permissive than code in the public domain,
because that code is no longer copyrighted (in most jurisdictions). By
the very nature of public domain, all copyrighted code (regardless of
license) is more restrictive, because while you may be able to do
_ANYTHING_ in accordance with the terms of the copyright license, you
cannot claim copyright on the whole work with the first copyrightable
change, which you can do with public domain code.
Hope that helps. :)