OSL 3.0: A Better License for Open Source Software
Source: Rosenlaw & Einschlag
Given the attention paid recently to the General Public License (GPL) and its latest version (GPLv3), one may be interested to know that there are other licenses that satisfy the principles of free and open source software without the confusion and polemics that surround the GPL. There are many ways to license open source software. Other open source licenses have been approved by Open Source Initiative and adopted by commercial companies and by open source projects. Most of those other licenses are professionally written by lawyers to express clearly the licensing objectives of software copyright and patent owners and to ensure that they are valid and enforceable in all important jurisdictions. Consistent with open source principles, nothing in OSL 3.0 prevents anyone from selling or giving away OSL-licensed software or making a profitable business from it. Furthermore, once a licensee receives an authorized copy of OSL-licensed software, that person can make and distribute free copies and derivative works - but only under OSL 3.0, because OSL 3.0 is a reciprocal open source license. A copy of OSL 3.0 is available at www.rosenlaw.com/OSL3.0-comparison.pdf. It is shorter than either version of the GPL, contains no non-binding philosophical preamble, and each of its sixteen paragraphs relates specifically to an important legal issue of software ownership and licensing. OSL 3.0 is also shorter than this paper that describes it. Reading OSL 3.0 first, before re-reading this paper, will be a great help. As the rule of evidence goes, "The Paper Speaks for Itself."