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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Potential of the Sleepycat License

From: Ian Kelling
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Potential of the Sleepycat License
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2017 16:48:52 -0700
User-agent: mu4e 0.9.19; emacs 26.0.50

Nicolás A. Ortega <address@hidden> writes:

> I've tried having this discussion on #fsf and #gnu, and I think that
> this license has the potential to be a great software license,
> especially for libraries.
> To my understanding the Sleepycat License[0] is a copyleft license in
> which all derivatives of the work must be licensed likewise (under the
> Sleepycat license) and works that use a project under this license must
> disclose source code.
> There are, however a couple problems with this license, the first one
> (as you most likely have noticed while reading the above) is that
> disclosure of source code does not mean free software, and secondly is
> the issue that the license uses very specific terminology referring to
> the BerkleyDB (the software that uses this license) and refers mostly to
> DB software. Given, disclosure of source code is better (imo) than the
> LGPL since it forces the disclosure of the sources (while LGPL only does
> so in the case of static linking if there is no exception), and still
> gives more freedom for the programmer to choose a license unlike one of
> the GPL licenses (despite how much I love them).
> However, if we can find people with the knowledge to write/modify
> licenses ('cause I for sure will not be able to do that) then I think
> that this license could be modified to fix those two problems (for
> example, instead of requiring that code be disclosed, all 4 freedoms
> could be required).
> I am not an expert in licensing, which is why I brought this up here.
> Hopefully someone here has the ability, time, and will to do this (if it
> is possible). (^_^)
> [0]

A modification can't "improve" the license, because any modification
simply makes a new license.  This can be mitigated if the old license
has an automatic upgrade provision, but sleepycat doesn't. A new license
comes with significant downsides, see Without some
specific compelling reason an existing license wouldn't work, it's
better not to write a new license. I'm glad you are thinking about
giving people freedom, unfortunately, I don't think this is a good way
to do it.

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