BCS OS Licence – London 24/07/07 4


The Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) will be holding an interactive event on Tuesday 24th July 2007 over a proposal to create a British Computer Society (BCS) Open Source Licence. This promises to be a lively event where all views (for, against, or neutral) will be welcome from the floor following a short introductory presentation.Venue – BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA

Time – 1800 hours for 1830 start.

Free buffet and refreshments including wine.

Please email your name to the events coordinator to book a place at this event.

For further information please contact Mark Elkins via email at mark_elkins@bcs.org

Update 27th July 2007 – Here are the BCS OS Licence Slides used at the event held on 24th July 2007.


4 thoughts on “BCS OS Licence – London 24/07/07

  • mattl

    We don’t need more licenses! We need less licenses, if anything.

    In a world where most free software is under one of four licenses, what possible concerns could this license cover that are not already covered by GPL, LGPL, BSD and MIT licenses?

    I look forward to seeing a proposed license that meets not only The Free Software Definition but also The Open Source Definition.

    I would urge you to not do this. You will only dilute the free software effort by doing so.

  • AndrewK

    It’s a valid concern, Matt, and one that troubles me as well. But I think that there are some good reasons for having another licence, including:

    1. Clarity as to whether the licence is a contract or a bare licence. With the GPL (any version), for example, this issue is unclear, and has significant potential impact.
    2. The ability to have one licence with optional components, on a simlar model to the creative commons licences. For example, this would include the ability to opt in or out of the copyleft provisions, and the ability to opt in or out of a provision which permitted free use of the software on an ASP/SaaS basis (like GPL2 and 3) or prohibit it (like Affero).
    3. Compatibility with a structure I’m proposing which would be administered by the BCS which would allow individual pieces of software to be accredited as having undergone provenance testing/patent clearance.
    4. Clarity as to whether subclassing or linking triggers the copyleft provisions.

    I can think of some more, but these are the main ones which occur to me or I have been dealing with professionally recently.

    Remember: the author is free to release under as many different licences as he/she wants. So there’s nothing preventing a piece of software from being released simultaneously under the GPL (for example), a commercial licence and a BCS licence. And, provided that the BCS licence is well enough drafted, this need not encourage forking.

    But it’s certainly true that there must be overwhelming benefits to a new licence to encourage its use. The EUPL is a good licence in many ways, but I’ve never seen much evidence of its use.

    – Andrew

  • markelkins Post author

    Here are the BCS OS Licence Slides used at the event held on the 24th July 2007.

    Although Andrew Savory did attend this event he left part way through and so he missed out on what others who attended this event told me afterwards developed into a very interesting discussion.

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