Comments, Questions, and Discussion
Below is an OSSAL template. To generate your own license, change the values of <AUTHOR>, <RELEASE>, <SOFTWARE>, and <YEARS> from their original values as given here, and substitute your own.
<AUTHOR> = The Regents of the University of California. (ex: "The Regents of the University of California.", "PostgreSQL Global Development Group", "Joe Schmoe")
<RELEASE> = FreeBSD 5.3 (ex: "FreeBSD 5.3", "PostgreSQL 7.4")
<SOFTWARE> = FreeBSD (ex: "FreeBSD", "PostgreSQL", "Apache webserver")
<YEARS> = 2003 (ex: "2003", "2001, 2002, 2003", "2001-2003", "2000-2002,2004")
Here is the license template:
All of the documentation and software included in the <RELEASE> and <SOFTWARE> Releases is copyrighted by <AUTHOR>. Copyright <YEARS> <AUTHOR>. All rights reserved. Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met: 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer. 2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution. 3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software should, in good faith, display the following acknowledgment: This product includes software developed by the <AUTHOR> and its contributors. 4. Redistributions of source code must not be used in conjunction with any software license that requires disclosure of source code (ex: the GNU Public License, hereafter known as the GPL). 5. Redistributions of source code in any non-textual form (i.e. binary or object form, etc.) must not be linked to software that is released with a license that requires disclosure of source code (ex: the GPL). 6. Redistributions of source code must be licensed under more than one license and must not have the terms of the OSSAL removed. THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY <AUTHOR> AND CONTRIBUTORS ``AS IS'' AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL <AUTHOR> OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.
The Open Source Software Alliance (hereafter known as "OSSAL"), is designed to be a business friendly Open Source Software license that encourages businesses to release or make use of OSSAL software (OSSAL is a BSDL-like license). The intent of OSSAL is akin to the phrase, "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch your back." With OSSAL software, a business is able to use and incorporate existing software that is licensed under the OSSAL or other BSDL-like licenses. The incorporated software can be sold. A business can lend resources to an OSSAL project and not waive its right to make money from the software. By allowing other businesses to have access to non-trade secret software under the terms of the OSSAL, other businesses can invest in improving the software. Both businesses win by collaborating. If a business keeps the changes in house and does not contribute them back to the project, the business incurs a reoccurring cost for maintaining that software. The joint nature of OSSAL software reduces maintenance costs of software. The extra engineers and eyes inspecting the code will increase the quality of the code in terms of functionality and reduce the number of bugs. OSSAL is software reciprocity.
If a business invests in software released under the terms of the GPL (or a GPL-like license), the money that the business invested into developing the software is unrecoverable because the software that was the target of the investment is not commercially viable to the business that invested in the development effortd1. The exception to the software's viability is being able to provide support or documentation for the software. If a business manager or engineer realizes this, one of two things will happen: 1) he or she is going to dedicate as little resources as possible into solving the problem because work on GPL software has zero return on investment outside of satisfying a business's immediate needs, or 2) he or she is going to realize that it is of no consequence to the business if the quality of the investment is high or low, therefore they are going to err on the side of providing a lower quality, less well thought out solution because it could drive documentation sales or support contracts.
As for software quality, if the theories of capitalism are true, and the job market is a functioning market place (the higher the skilled engineer, the more the engineer is paid. The more the engineer is paid, the busier the engineer is. The more complex product generates more income and consumes more engineering resources of increasing skill, thus depriving the open source community of the talents of a skilled engineer), then businesses with the most qualified engineers are not working on any percentage of Open Source software. By allowing engineers to work on software that is usable by their business, the quality of the tools of the product that the business produces, will go up. By Open Sourcing non-trade secret software under the OSSAL license, it is now possible, and very potentially likely that other businesses will invest resources into improving the OSSAL software. The corollary to the above statement is that the most expendable, unimportant engineers work on GPL software and the better software engineers work on BSDL-licensed software.
The goal of this license is to promote businesses to open source non-trade secret software and to contribute resources, when necessary, to OSSAL or BSDL licensed software. With multiple businesses using and working on necessary bug fixes, updates, etc.: the cost of software development, maintenance, and support goes down; the number of bugs goes down, and; the quality of the software and its documentation goes up. OSSAL also discourages the use of GPL or viral licenses as they indirectly promote lower quality software that is widely disseminated, but not reviewed by the more highly skilled software engineers. By getting a group of businesses to use and dedicate resources to OSSAL software, the group of businesses have created an off the books, informal alliance to help one another. "If you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."
d1) The GPL requires free availability of the source code for a product (can only charge for shipping and the material cost of the CD, disks, etc.), requires that the recipient of the code be bound by the GPL as well, and requires that any product that uses GPL code, also be bound to the terms of the GPL (requiring it to be open source and distributed free of charge if the product is sold).
A text copy of the license can be found here.
if you have any comments, questions, concerns, or would like to discuss this license, please direct them to Sean Chittenden.