[Matroska-general] License Form for TCME

Christian HJ Wiesner chris at matroska.org
Fri Jan 30 12:13:17 CET 2004


there has been a lot of discussion about the license for TCME, before 
even a single line was coded, but thats actually not a bad thing either.

Here the options and the Pro's / Con's , in a summary :

*1. Closed source / no license :*

Pro : allows selling ; no forks possible ; all binaries fully 
controllable with respect to their functionality
Con : nobody from outside will contribute to it, we have to do 
everything ourselves ; bad commercial reputation

My vote : not a bad option with some advantages, but not my favourite

*2. QPL / GPL dual license*

Pro : allows selling of the program later, for everything contributed 
under the QPL license
Con : contributors can choose either license for for their patches, 
doesnt prevent forking at all

My vote : BAD !

*3. QPL single license*

Pro : Makes forking not so easy, and always obvious to informed users ; 
allows selling of the program ; patches sent by contributors can be sold 
Con : Gives the whole project a bad, commercial smell, even if we never 
plan to market the program

My vote : We have better options

*4. GPL single license*

Pro : well accepted license type with good reputation in the OSS 
community ; contributors will feel safe about doing so ; free protection 
from the GNU lawyers in case a company will steal the code ; lot of code 
out there that could be reused
Con : an invitation to fork the project, as GPL is pro-fork

My vote : maybe the best option we have, if we dont make 5.

*5. New license, 'Corecodec Public Antifork License'*

Explanation : We can basically copy some paragraphs from the GPL, but 
add other paragraph to strictly forbid to fork from the project, means 
the complete source/binary distribution has to be changed compared to 
the GPL, making it ( of course ) completely incompatible with the GPL 
itself ; special paragraphs have to deal with what's happening in case
- the original host ( Corecodec ) disappears, and the devs cant agree on 
a new host
- the project is declared dead by the majority of the main devs/admins
- the originall devs decide to relicense and sell the code
For these cases a 'fallback to GPL' should be part of the license, 
making the program free-software in the terms of the FSF again, to avoid 
abuse and to help contributors to trust in the goals. I expect that many 
other projects may also have a use for the license that way.
Pro :  raises public awareness for Corecodec, especially if we manage to 
get OSI approval for it ( i checked many other licenses, there is no 
similar license existing )
Con : people will instantaneously cry : 'yet another license, and why ?' 
; higher explanation effort

My vote : lets discuss that here, i'd love to hear your opinions

Guys, its essential that you all give some input here. Dont complain 
afterwards that you dont like our decision !


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