[tei-council] Fwd: [tei-board] licensing issues

Lou Burnard lou.burnard at retired.ox.ac.uk
Wed Sep 28 07:51:17 EDT 2011

On 28/09/11 12:46, Sebastian Rahtz wrote:
> that's in response to the plea from George to an immediate short-term fix,  I assume,
> so I hope its not intended as the long-term solution.
> Lou will understand what I mean when I comment that the TEI Board
> and Council are fast coming to resemble Oxford University committees
> which notoriously take 100 years to decide anything, and then its a compromise….
> --

Compromise is good tho,  isnt it?

Actually, it;s better than that. As far as I can judge from some other 
Board correspondence on the topic -- unattributably copied below -- the 
Board is waiting for a decision from the Council.


I understand the need for care here, and I'm glad it is getting a good 
airing on council.

The council's inability to deliver an immediate recommendation does 
leave us in a bit of a bind, however, given the situation facing us.

George wants a LGPL, as I understand things, which does everything we 
seem to want, but if we are to give it to him in advance of a Council 
recommendation, we are actually precluding their discussion, since 
AFAIK, the LGPL is viral enough that any licence we impose would have to 
be /at least/ as unrestrictive as LGPL.

I see two possibilities open to the Board if the Council is not in a 
position to make a recommendation (other than leaving George without a 
solution, which I think is a non-starter):

a) force the council debate a little by granting him a LGPL. This would 
be bad in that we would be forcing the Council to recommend LGPL or 
lighter, taking GPL off the table in their continuing discussions (once 
you grant LGPL, my understanding is you can't go back to GPL). But since 
Laurent indicates that GPL is not under consideration, perhaps this 
would not be too serious an imposition--the Council could always decide 
to recommend a /less/ restrictive licence.

b) go my emergency route and grant George the elements of LGPL he wants, 
without including the viral/pass on aspects--i.e right him a custom 
licence answering only his concerns in as minimal a fashion as possible. 
This would mean that George could use our material without fear, but we 
would not be precluding a recommendation for a more restrictive licence 
for non-negotiated transactions.

My preference would be for (a). If I am understanding Laurent correctly, 
we can expect the recommendation from council, whenever it is ready, to 
involve nothing more restrictive than LGPL, so we would apparently not 
be forcing them into a recommendation they would otherwise not be 
making; secondly, my recollection really is that Council recommended 
LGPL once before and this is a repeat of that debate; and thirdly it is 
much less messy to go with a standing licence that write something ad 
hoc ourselves.

Perhaps if Council could tell us if they would object to us granting at 
least a LGPL to George, while reserving the right to impose even less 
restrictions, we could help him move forward while they continue their 
debate over the finer issues. SyncroSoft has been a huge supporter of 
our consortium and community and I don't like this hanging like this. 
But even in the absence of a recommendation, I suspect we should go with 
an LGPL while Council think through the implications of a lighter licence

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