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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject RE: Apache + MS-PL
Date Mon, 05 Nov 2012 00:37:11 GMT
Richard and others,

 

The difference between Category A and Category B is the "weak copyleft"
attribute of the latter. This distinction is resolved within Apache by
allowing Category B copies  *only in  the object/binary form*. Here is how
the Apache policy describes Category B:

 

"By including only the object/binary form, there is less exposed surface
area of the third-party work from which a work might be derived; this
addresses the second guiding principle of this policy. By attaching a
prominent label to the distribution and requiring an explicit action by the
user to get the reciprocally-licensed source, users are less likely to be
unaware of restrictions significantly different from those of the Apache
License. Please include the URL to the product's homepage in the prominent
label." 

http://apache.org/legal/resolved.html 

 

I've never understood the distinctions drawn within Apache between source
and object forms of software, since the Copyright Act doesn't really
distinguish between them. Nor do I understand what is meant by "less exposed
surface area" when applied to copyrightable code. Users generally don't give
a damn about the distinctions among open source licenses in the
software-based products they use, and developers who do care know to check
the NOTICE file rather than the surface area. 

 

That said, Richard Fontana's question about whether the MS-PL should be in
Category A or Category B would only matter - from a practical point of view
- if some Apache project wanted to include the source form of an MS-PL
contribution. I've never heard that issue raised by any Apache project. Does
the MS-PL license actually matter to us?

 

Is this really enough of an issue that we want to reopen the question of
license compatibility for Apache projects? If so, be warned. I'll argue that
Category B software is just fine for Apache projects as long as users are
appropriately notified of those license terms. Nothing in Category B
software (object or source!) affects the Apache contributions within an
Apache work or the Apache License as applied to the entire collective work.
I'd like to see Category A and Category B merged in Apache policy so that
there are more good open source software components from which Apache
projects can draw.

 

/Larry

 

Lawrence Rosen

Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm (www.rosenlaw.com)

3001 King Ranch Rd., Ukiah, CA 95482

Office: 707-485-1242

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Fontana [mailto:rfontana@redhat.com] 
Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2012 6:20 AM
To: legal-discuss@apache.org
Subject: Re: Apache + MS-PL

 

On Sun, Nov 04, 2012 at 09:45:51AM +0200, Daniel Shahaf wrote:

> Richard Fontana wrote on Sat, Nov 03, 2012 at 21:35:45 -0400:

> > On Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 03:58:06PM -0400, Kevan Miller wrote:

> > 

> > > Hi Jesse,

> > > MS-PL is considered to be a category A license -- 

> > >  <http://apache.org/legal/resolved.html#category-a>
http://apache.org/legal/resolved.html#category-a

> > 

> > Does anyone have a link to a discussion of this issue? I'd classify 

> > MS-PL as a weak copyleft license (though an atypical one) and thus 

> > I'm puzzled as to why it wouldn't be in the Category B list instead.

> > 

> 

>  <http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/www-legal-discuss/200803.mbox>
http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/www-legal-discuss/200803.mbox

>
<mailto:/%3C2d12b2f00803200818s4a35d080ifac13904a1737e4@mail.gmail.com%3E>
/%3C2d12b2f00803200818s4a35d080ifac13904a1737e4@mail.gmail.com%3E

 

Thanks. 

 

I would suggest that the ASF take a closer look at this license; the summary
inclusion in Category A seems to be an error (or else the inclusion of some
other licenses in Category B no longer makes obvious sense to me). This is
based on some assumptions on my part on what Categories A and B are supposed
to mean; such assumptions may be faulty.

 

I have no particular problem with the MS-PL itself (it actually has some
nice characteristics IMO), but rather am bothered by any sign of
inconsistency. :) I similarly objected to the FSF's listing of MS-PL as a
GPL-compatible license, because I considered it inconsistent with how they
were treating most other non-GNU weak copyleft licenses, and got them to
change their classification.

 

- Richard

 

 

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