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OSL 3.0: A Better License for Open Source Software

Note: ebizQ is reprinting this article from the web site of and with the permission of Lawrence Rosen, partner in a law firm that specializes in technology and computer law. We are reprinting the article not because ebizQ favors one open source software (OSS) license over another but because the article very clearly lays out the major OSS license issues from a business perspective, separating out a lot of the usual philosophical aspects readers often encounter when trying to understand the nuances of OSS vs. free software vs. the hybrid term, FOSS.



Rosen is a leader in OSS and open standards and an active participant in the Open Source Initiative (OSI) “license-discuss list,” of which ebizQ has written frequently. Larry previously served as general counsel for OSI and was also once its executive director.  His firm can help users and software suppliers with copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret and other issues relating to intellectual property (IP). He demonstrates in this article that he also understands the business aspects of technology, and can help both OSS users and software suppliers develop and implement an IP strategy that supports their business objectives.

ebizQ is committed to addressing the community aspects of the OSS movement as much as the development and business sides of OSS, although the latter are the primary ebizQ focuses when it comes to OSS. To further the objective of understanding OSS community aspects, during 2007 we interviewed current OSI executive director, Michael Tiemann, in a podcast in November 2007, available here. ebizQ has also worked with leaders of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), Linux Foundation and similar groups to hopefully provide a better understanding of the cultural implications of OSS.

In the Rosen article, the sections are divided by Roman numerals organized as follows:

I.    Brief Overview of OSL 3.0 And Its Companion Licenses    

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