Monday, July 30, 2007

Living on a prayer

During July we’ve seen some interesting developments:

  • SugarCRM announced that their next major Sugar Community Edition release will adopt GPLv3.
  • The Common Public Attribution License (CPAL), submitted by SocialText, was just approved by OSI as an Open Source license. Nice going, Ross! (Ross Mayfield is the CEO of SocialText.)

In the CPAL’s case, according to Groklaw, “the attribution language was taken from the Adaptive Public License, which was already an OSI-approved license, and as you will see, the new license is practically identical, so there is no big change at OSI, and no, this is not the first attribution license to be OSI-approved. Even GPLv3 allows you to require attribution, after all.”

The Groklaw article goes on to show how the SugarCRM and CPAL license term differ. Of course, Sugar may adopt CPAL for commercial products.

This brings up a sticky subject for me: OSI's website. OSI, can you keep your site and license pages updated? If the licenses are in process and there is a public acknowledgment or process of pending OSI approval, maintain the status of them. In the case of GPL and LGPL, both licenses are not up-to-date. If there is a process-related issue, state it on the website. If it’s not up on the website, one must assume the license is not approved, but that would conflict with what we know or read in the press.

And while we're on the subject of licensing: If the Free Software Foundation can solve big intergalactic problems like the patent licensing, DRM, and others, why can’t the OSI tackle attribution? Clearly this is an issue you can address, and having a standard that the community could look to would be useful.

I put it to you, loyal readers: Are these things really too much to ask? Non-trivial change in the open source world happens all the time. All it needs is a little push, or a prayer, from time to time.

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