License stand-down begins

The next step is harder, namely to merge some of these corporate licenses

The Sun set on SISSL, the Sun Industry Standards Source License. Hopefully this is just the first announcement of many.

For any commercial open source definition to work, we need some rational licensing, licensing you don't need a lawyer to figure out. I wrote about this back in March, after OSI announced in Boston during February it would work to cut the number of licenses.

The Sun announcement reveals there's much that can be done internally to make this work. Sun chose to support its newer CDDL license instead of the older SISSL. Companies that offer multiple open source licenses should be choosing one as a first step.

The next step is harder, namely to merge some of these corporate licenses. Stephen Shankland's story on the Sun decision reveals just how hard this will be. OpenOffice, to which Sun has made many contributions, will now be governed by the LPGL, now that SISSL is no more.

Simon Phipps_1.jpg

But when Martin Fink of H-P suggested recently that Sun should drop the CDDL, Sun's Simon Phipps (left), who announced the SISSL retirement on his blog, went all vershizzle, dismissing it as  "shallow and attention-grabbing rhetoric".

Maybe it was. I don't know.

But a lot of licenses need to be retired.

As OSI outside counsel Laura Majerus told Phipps (and as he repeated on retiring SISSL), " reducing needless diversity and simplifying license choice is a key objective of the OSI." It's good that Phipps has his feelings out in the open about this. The next step is to set those feelings aside and get on with the work. That's something everyone in the open source licensing world can contribute to.


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