Chuck Swiger scripsit:

> The list of OSI-approved licenses includes near-duplicates such as the 
> BSD license versus the SleepyCat license or the "University of 
> Illinois/NCSA Open Source License", for one thing.  

A tricky example, actually, since the Sleepycat license is reciprocal:
you have to provide freely redistributable source to your applications
that use Berkeley DB, unless you buy a commercial license from Sleepycat.
It's much more like the GPL, though without the "derivatives under GPL
only" provision.

> Others who have suggested that the list of approved licenses is going 
> to continue to grow are very likely right, but is that a problem?

I see two problems:

1) Developer confusion.  With lots of licenses, it's hard to juggle the rules
in your head, and especially to know if you can create joint derivatives of
software under license A with software under license B.

2) Partition of the commons.  The GPL creates a commons of software:
programs that make use of GPL software have to stay within the commons.
The OSL does the same, but incompatibly with the GPL (in the opinion of the
people promulgating the GPL, at any rate).  You can't mix'n'match GPL and
OSL components.  The non-reciprocal licenses don't cause a problem in
this case, since they cross all boundaries.

> If so, efforts to create license templates with a range of choices 
> which result in OSI Open Source-compatible terms, such as the Creative 
> Commons licenses, seem to be a good idea.  A similar effort could be 
> made to coalesce BSD-like licenses, GPL-derived licenses, and perhaps 
> others (the MPL?).

Alas, you run up against Not Invented Here.

Consider the matter of Analytic Philosophy.  Dennett and Bennett are well-known.
Dennett rarely or never cites Bennett, so Bennett rarely or never cites Dennett.
There is also one Dummett.  By their works shall ye know them.  However, just as
no trinities have fourth persons (Zeppo Marx notwithstanding), Bummett is hardly
known by his works.  Indeed, Bummett does not exist.  It is part of the function
of this and other e-mail messages, therefore, to do what they can to create him.
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