Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 18th May 2007 22:36 UTC, submitted by Chris Williams
RISC OS Castle and RISC OS Open have revealed the details of their 'shared source' licence - which is hoped to encourage coders to download and improve the ARM-based operating system. The wording of the licence has drawn mixed reactions, and the first batch of RISC OS source code is expected to be released tomorrow.
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v They created the license
by osgeek on Sat 19th May 2007 00:02 UTC
v RE: They created the license
by Windows Sucks on Sat 19th May 2007 01:24 UTC in reply to "They created the license"
RE: They created the license
by rhyder on Sat 19th May 2007 02:28 UTC in reply to "They created the license"
rhyder Member since:
2005-09-28

It's not supposed to be comparable to the GPL. It allows people to tinker and distribute but forces people to pay if they want to build a commercial product around RISC OS.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: They created the license
by osgeek on Sat 19th May 2007 07:36 UTC in reply to "RE: They created the license"
osgeek Member since:
2006-12-23

Ah ok, it is a 'shared source' commercial license, not 'open source'. So they are free to define how they want their product to be used. Few companies give away their products to be used, sold and distributed for free.

http://osgeek.blogspot.com

Reply Score: 2

License
by saxiyn on Sat 19th May 2007 01:35 UTC
saxiyn
Member since:
2005-07-08

This license looks fine to me. Clause 1.2.5 looks obnoxious and grants Castle a special privilege, but it doesn't seem to contradict Open Source Definition.

Reply Score: 1

RE: License
by sbergman27 on Sat 19th May 2007 02:04 UTC in reply to "License"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
Clause 1.2.5 looks obnoxious and grants Castle a special privilege, but it doesn't seem to contradict Open Source Definition.
"""

2.4 This Licence is not an OEM licence. Consequently, You may not incorporate
or embed RISC OS or any Derivative Work or any part of them in any hardware
product which is intended for commercial sale, nor may You distribute, sell,
supply or otherwise dispose of any such hardware product unless You have
obtained the prior written consent of Castle.

Reply Score: 4

RE: License
by butters on Sat 19th May 2007 05:22 UTC in reply to "License"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

1.2.3 You shall ensure that each Derivative Work distributed by You is distributed and licensed in its entirety at no charge on the terms of this Licence to any third party who is prepared to accept the terms of this Licence. If any part of any Derivative Work distributed by You can reasonably be considered an independent and separate work then this Licence shall not apply to any such part where You distribute such part as an independent and separate work;

The license prohibits distribution of derivative works in non-gratis products. This prevents some common practices such as charging a small fee to ship the software on physical media. The intent might be that nobody but Castle can profit from RISC OS, but their license can prevent distributors from merely breaking even.

Further, the question of what could "reasonably be considered an independent and separate work" negatively impacts the enforceability of this license. If they want to allow certain kinds of modifications to be redistributable on their own under an arbitrary license, then they need to define in explicit terms what kinds of modifications are considered independent and/or separate. It could be as simple as declaring that original source files or original class definitions qualify (on their own) for exemption from these license terms.

Finally, the definition of Derivative Work is almost laughable:

The phrase "Derivative Work" means any derivative work which is based on, or derived from, RISC OS or any part of RISC OS (whether by modification or translation) and any work subsequently derived from such Derivative Work or any part of it PROVIDED THAT such work is only intended to be used in conjunction with an embodiment (whether physical or emulated) of one or more versions of the ARM processor architecture.

What does this mean? A derivative work is a work that is derived from the original or another derivative? Nice recursive definition. I don't know whether this is strong or weak copyleft because apparently they think that everybody agrees on what constitutes derivation in the context of software.

I would highly discourage even the most experienced software vendors from drafting an open source or "shared source" license behind closed doors with no public review process. Especially when the license is intended to propagate to derivative works (i.e. copyleft), is is crucially important to get the license right. Whatever they intend this license to entail, Castle has clearly failed, and if they go through with distributing code under this license, they are going to feel very vulnerable in court when somebody inevitably interprets this license in a creative way.

Edited 2007-05-19 05:22

Reply Score: 3

RE: License
by flibble on Sat 19th May 2007 09:37 UTC in reply to "License"
flibble Member since:
2007-05-19

"but it doesn't seem to contradict Open Source Definition."

A cursory look says it breaks the Open Source definition in 3 separate ways.

1: Free redistribution - the license prevents you from shipping hardware with this code without paying a royalty.

6: No Discrimination against field of endeavour - The license prevents you from using the code on anything other the ARM based platforms.

8: License must not be specific to a product - This license is written specifically for the RISC OS product, and could not be used on other projects.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: License
by JohnOne on Sat 19th May 2007 13:21 UTC in reply to "RE: License"
JohnOne Member since:
2006-03-25

8: License must not be specific to a product - This license is written specifically for the RISC OS product, and could not be used on other projects.


Good point, but not a real problem.
Castle's RISC OS Open Licence is a first step. At the first time even Solaris and Darwin had their own specific licences, but the successes pushed Sun and Apple to change them in more open definitions.
Time will tell us. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: License
by nevali on Sat 19th May 2007 18:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: License"
nevali Member since:
2006-10-12

Castle's RISC OS Open Licence is a first step. At the first time even Solaris and Darwin had their own specific licences, but the successes pushed Sun and Apple to change them in more open definitions.
Time will tell us. :-)


Sadly, I don't think there are enough people out there who would put pressure on Castle/ROOL to change the license in the same way pressure was put on Apple and Sun.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: License
by JohnOne on Sat 19th May 2007 21:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: License"
JohnOne Member since:
2006-03-25

Sadly, I don't think there are enough people out there who would put pressure on Castle/ROOL to change the license in the same way pressure was put on Apple and Sun.


Apple and Sun didn't change licences for pressure, but success.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: License
by nevali on Mon 21st May 2007 21:06 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: License"
nevali Member since:
2006-10-12

Apple and Sun didn't change licences for pressure, but success.


That pressure was a major barrier to their success. Without it, they would have had no way of know what was wrong (otherwise they would've done it right in the first place).

In any case, I have a sneaking feeling that Castle measures success of an open RISC OS in a slightly different way to Apple or Sun (which is odd, because all three really want to achieve the same things).

Reply Score: 1

ARM
by nicholas on Sat 19th May 2007 09:33 UTC
nicholas
Member since:
2005-07-07

What will be the first port to a new ARM platform?

Nintendo DS?
iPod?
GP2X?

Reply Score: 2

RE: ARM
by JohnOne on Sat 19th May 2007 13:12 UTC in reply to "ARM"
JohnOne Member since:
2006-03-25

What will be the first port to a new ARM platform?

Nintendo DS?


RISC OS on Nintendo DS? I REALLY want it!!! :-D

Reply Score: 1