I'm not a lawyer, but I play one on the 'Net. Following is an analysis I posted to some people who are into that sort of thing.
Lucent has released Plan 9. They've written their own license in the
- License allows for commercial and noncommercial use, though it
doesn't define the terms, they're not meaningfully distinguished,
making mooting the distinction.
- Primary grant addresses both copyright and patent, language similar
IBM PSL. Trademarks are addressed seperately.
- This isn't a strict copyleft -- alternative licensing of object code
and modifications appears to be allowed.
- There is an obligation to provide modifications to the original
developer, on request. This is a forced disclosure clause similar to
- There is an obligation (3.4) of source distribution to third parties
who receive the work in non source-code form. Whether or not this
is sufficiently strong to be a copyleft, or could be weakened over
several generations of derivation as with the Artistic License, is
somewhat unclear. It appears that different rights to modifications
may be allowed to apply to the original work than from third party
modifications, though sources must be distributed. I don't believe
this is a copyleft.
- Termination language is interesting, and contains a "quit if claimed"
clause -- the license terminates if any IP actions are initated:
(ii) reads as a mutual non-agression pact to my eyes. This is a step
up from the IBM PSL language, though less broad than the patent trap
I'd proposed at the second OpenSales licensing workshop.
The licenses and rights granted under this Agreement shall
terminate automatically if (i) You fail to comply with all of the
terms and conditions herein; or (ii) You initiate or participate
in any intellectual property action against Original Contributor
and/or another Contributor.
- Disclaimers of warranty and liability -- MEGO boilerplate, though
some of the language differs from what's commonly used. The real
lawyers should look it over.
I'm developing a theory of licensing I apply to both corporate and
non-corporate entities. I loosely (and toungue-in-cheek) call "fear and
greed". Classic business sense, no pejorative (and if you'll look up
the terms in a search engine, most of the
hits involve busines
Free software licenses reflect an organizations fear and greed
motivators. Fear being the things an orgainization is afraid of --
either losing control of or being hit with. Greed being the things an
organization is hoping to secure -- benefits, direct or otherwise.
"Fear and greed" analysis of the Lucent License:
Fear motivators: The standard warranty and liability
terms. As with most companies, trademark and patent are addressed, as
with Netscape, Sun, and IBM. Contribution of modifications appears to
be a concern, reflected by the requirement of contributing modifications
at request. Unique to this license are limitations as applied to specific
Lucida fonts included in the Plan 9 OS, though whether these represent
valuable property of Lucent, third-party works which cannot be licensed,
or both, I'm not sure.
Greed motivators: For a corporate license, this is
fairly friendly to both developers and other companies -- termination
patent language could offer fairly broad protections. The only readily
apparent rights / obligation asymmetry is in the section 4.0 requirement
to provide modified sources and documentation to the original developer
on request. This may not be a minor consideration to some potential
licensees. I don't see this as a standards-promotion license in the
same manner as a
BSD or MIT/X license -- proprietized development of
the work doesn't appear to be permitted under 3.4.
That's a quick and sleep deprived read. Corrections welcomed.
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.