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Time problem

Time problem

Posted Dec 18, 2012 4:38 UTC (Tue) by louie (subscriber, #3285)
In reply to: Time problem by mlinksva
Parent article: Fontana: What open source licensing could learn from Creative Commons (Opensource.com)

The cadence appears to be "double-digit months", which is... not the case for MPL, GPL, or Apache. :)

My understanding is that the DRM discussion is closed, certainly, I don't see any new arguments that could be provided, proved, or otherwise prove persuasive.


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Time problem

Posted Dec 18, 2012 5:35 UTC (Tue) by rfontana (guest, #52677) [Link]

I guess that's all I really meant. The CC licenses seem to be updated more frequently than comparable (institution-associated?) free/open source software licenses.

Why not a rolling release license? :-)

Time problem

Posted Dec 18, 2012 7:58 UTC (Tue) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

You still have not answered: what is the advantage of having licenses that are upgraded fast? Or of rolling back changes? Are there so many pressing problems in the licensing world that they need to be addressed this fast?

I understand the proliferation of licenses (and even worse a rolling licenses) would create a myriad of legal interesting problems and a business opportunity for lawyers. Imagine that: "Judge, from 2012-12-18 12:47 to 2012-12-19 17:38 the license gave the right to distribute modified versions without attaching source code, and that is what my client did".

Disclaimer: IANAL, and most of my knowledge of US law comes from watching The Good Wife episodes.

Time problem

Posted Dec 18, 2012 14:29 UTC (Tue) by rfontana (guest, #52677) [Link]

You still have not answered: what is the advantage of having licenses that are upgraded fast? Or of rolling back changes? Are there so many pressing problems in the licensing world that they need to be addressed this fast?

"Pressing"? Probably not, though I wonder whether some minor fixes could have significant positive impacts on uptake of specific licenses.

In the proprietary commercial licensing world one doesn't typically see a form license in wide use kept entirely unmodified for, say, 15 years (indeed, licenses don't really have independent existence in a sense that is perceptible to the public; the release of a new product or new version of a product will be accompanied by at least some minor changes to prior versions). This is not necessarily because there are pressing problems to fix, but there are always things worth fixing if you have the ability to do so. As for negotiated license agreements in use for many years, these often see multiple amendments.

I suppose that isn't a satisfactory answer to your question about advantage. I feel that if you see a flaw in a license (I can tell you that in all widely-used licenses there are flaws, though they may not be 'pressing') it's a shame that you "can't" (in some cases this means "won't") fix it (other than, in some cases, through some cumbersome technique of issuing exceptions or clarifications). The idea that we should have to live with what turns out to be a mistake for 15 years, because it's so important to have a degree of legal simplification and stability that has no counterpart outside the FLOSS world, and because it's so important to standardize on a small set of licenses increasingly controlled by institutions, just seems questionable to me. That probably made more sense when "open source" was perceived as being younger and more novel. We are past adolescence.

I understand the proliferation of licenses (and even worse a rolling licenses) would create a myriad of legal interesting problems and a business opportunity for lawyers.
I don't actually think it would mean a net increase in interesting legal problems. The same set of interesting problems exist today because of license stability (and, increasingly, license standardization). Whatever business opportunities "open source" provides for a lawyer in private practice will, I expect, remain constant no matter what happens.
most of my knowledge of US law comes from watching The Good Wife episodes.
That's your problem right there. The Good Wife provides a highly unrealistic portrayal of lawyers, and particularly of lawyers in Chicago.

Time problem

Posted Dec 18, 2012 17:06 UTC (Tue) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

Thanks for your thoughtful and explanatory comment.

Time problem

Posted Dec 18, 2012 20:00 UTC (Tue) by apoelstra (subscriber, #75205) [Link]

> I suppose that isn't a satisfactory answer to your question about advantage. I feel that if you see a flaw in a license (I can tell you that in all widely-used licenses there are flaws, though they may not be 'pressing') it's a shame that you "can't" (in some cases this means "won't") fix it (other than, in some cases, through some cumbersome technique of issuing exceptions or clarifications). The idea that we should have to live with what turns out to be a mistake for 15 years, because it's so important to have a degree of legal simplification and stability that has no counterpart outside the FLOSS world, and because it's so important to standardize on a small set of licenses increasingly controlled by institutions, just seems questionable to me. That probably made more sense when "open source" was perceived as being younger and more novel. We are past adolescence.

I would argue that from a developer's perspective, the simplicity of having very few (and well-differentiated) licenses is very useful. It means that if you're just looking to link a library or lift code from somewhere, you can read just the title of a project's license to know if you need to keep looking.

And you also know roughly what you're allowed and not allowed to do, without being able to understand the legalese completely.

Having few organizations behind these licenses means that for the weird cases, you know who to ask for clarification.


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