[Discuss] free/open licenses could discourage participation just because they're unusual

YES NOPE9 yes at nope9.com
Fri May 2 20:49:38 UTC 2014

I agree with you totally

On May 2, 2014, at 10:00 AM, J. Simmons wrote:


I don't have any hard data, but I do have some thoughts on this topic.  My experience as an observer of (and occasional contributor to) open source software is that licenses very much matter (both well known ones and one-off licenses).  Just look at the flame wars about licenses and the corporate level decisions that happen (at places like Redhat or Apache) to be a "insert license here" shop.  I think people can feel so strongly about licenses because they are a manifestation of values (if you are a proponent of "share alike" then "attribution only" would be a mere shadow of "true licenses").  And nothing gets people worked up faster than a disagreement over values.

It would not surprise me at all if reactions are magnified for less well known licenses (after all they either require potential contributors to read and understand a new license, take it on faith that the license matches their values, or just skip the project entirely).  Note, I have seen other commentary from OpenBSD that points to technical concerns in OpenSSL's default error handling, so in this case, the real story behind the event is probably very complicated and has many layers of causation.

One final thought, this business about licenses manifesting personal and corporate values is one of the reasons why I think it is important to develop a range of OSHW licenses that are sanctioned as being compatible with the OSHW definition and cover the range of values we see in software licenses (GPL-like, LGPL-like, Apache/BSD-like, etc).  And it is why I think it is essential for projects to declare their license choice(s) in plain site on their project pages so new users and contributors can see the project's values when they first visit the project.

Thanks for posting the link,


On Fri, May 2, 2014 at 11:19 AM, Matt Maier <blueback09 at gmail.com> wrote:

An interesting theory about why OpenSSL got so little development help is that it has a custom license which is incompatible with standard FLOSS licenses.

"Developers would rather not deal with these issues; as such, they use the code as-is and do the least necessary to comply with the license"

Does anybody know if there is data to support this theory? Do a significant number of developers shy away from projects just because they're unfamiliar with, or annoyed by, a slightly off-of-center license? 


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Open Source Spaceflight Export Control" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to oss-export-control+unsubscribe at googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

J. Simmons, President 
Mach 30: Foundation for Space Development
~ ad astra per civitatem ~
to the stars through community
discuss mailing list
discuss at lists.oshwa.org

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.oshwa.org/pipermail/discuss/attachments/20140502/3f268800/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the discuss mailing list