[Python-Dev] Python License News

Tim Peters tim_one@email.msn.com
Sat, 29 Jul 2000 02:14:18 -0400

> Tim Peters knows more, you just have to ask the right way. :-)

[Mark Hammond]
> Tim - tell us about your testicles again!
> Is-that-correct-ly,

Works for me.  I had thought they were permanently enlarged, but I detect
signs that, should the temperature in Virginia ever fall below 80F, and the
relative humidity below a gazillion or two percent, they may return to a
familiar state.  I grew up in a cold climate, and this may just be a bizarre
attempt to shed excess heat.  I expect to set up a home page soon with a
charming and practical photographic essay on this topic <wink>.

As to the Python license, Guido said

> We expect that this wrinkle will be worked out with CNRI's
> president Bob Kahn on Monday.

and given the history of this I'd rather wait until then to see whether
expectations pan out -- and discussing the license before we're allowed to
*show* it would be frustrating for everyone anyway.

That said, this is certainly a harder license for a non-lawyer to understand
than was the CWI license, but I expect CNRI would counter that their license
is more likely than CWI's to stand up in court.  If such things interest
you, feel free to speculate <wink>.  Some things *everyone* should agree are

+ Eric Raymond informed us that the board of the Open Source Initiative had
voted to certify the license as fully Open Source compliant.


That was a happy day!  But it's already become a slightly different license
than they voted on, so I bet we have to seek OSI certification again.

+ I've seen Richard Stallman's remaining objections, and they're of a
technical nature (meaning that to BeOpen PythonLabs they don't seem like
they *should* be a sticking point; but CNRI may not agree).  As many dozens
of current Python projects rely on GPL compatibility, BeOpen will not accept
a license that RMS rejects (and, I'll add, he's made the *reasons* for his
objections clear, and has gone the extra mile to suggest specific changes).

+ My previous employers used Python in proprietary ("closed source") ways,
and I *believe* the proposed license still allows that.  But there are new
(relative to the CWI Python license) requirements, and I don't understand
what some of the license text means, so don't take my guess on that!  Anyone
who intends using Python 1.6 or beyond in proprietary ways would be well
advised to have their lawyers study the license carefully, as no party to
this negotiation was in your shoes or visibly (to me) looking out for you.
(And, no, I was not a party to any of it)

+ There is still no clause specifically prohibiting ActiveState from using
Python <wink>.  Or anyone else.

ordered-the-champagne-but-not-drinking-it-yet-ly y'rs  - tim