W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > February 2009

Re: Spec license

From: James Graham <jgraham@opera.com>
Date: Tue, 03 Feb 2009 16:10:13 +0100
Message-ID: <49885E55.2020608@opera.com>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
CC: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>

Sam Ruby wrote:
> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> On Feb 2, 2009, at 11:47 PM, Henri Sivonen wrote:
>>>  * Is the intent to license the IDL pieces also under a 
>>> software-oriented license that has previously been found suitable for 
>>> licensing software interfaces in a way that doesn't unduly interfere 
>>> with the licenses of downstream projects using the interface 
>>> definitions? (Consider the recent W3C interface licensing discussion 
>>> in connection to use in Batik.)
>> For IDL, it would be helpful if open source browser engines such as 
>> Gecko or WebKit could incorporate it directly, so a license known to 
>> be compatible with the LGPL (for WebKit) and with MPL/LGPL/GPL 
>> tri-license (for Gecko) would be best. I believe an MIT style license 
>> fits the bill. This would also allow proprietary browser engines to 
>> incorporate spec IDL if they choose to.
> I would love for this working group to present a set of acceptable 
> options and/or use cases to W3C management to consider.
> Meanwhile, I'm looking for show-stoppers.  Options that people "can't 
> live with", and therefore must be excluded.  Do you have a specific 
> reason to believe that cc-by 3.0 would be unacceptable to WebKit or Gecko?
> The ASF considers cc-by 2.5 to be compatible with the Apache License 
> 2.0[1].  The FSF considers the Apache license 2.0 to be compatible with 
> the LGPLv3.[2].  I already mentioned that GNU FDL 1.3 was modified[3] to 
> permit some (presumably wikipedia) to "escape" to cc-by-sa, which I view 
> as some form of endorsement, albeit indirect.

I will admit up front that I am pretty clueless when it comes to 
licensing. With that in mind...

My requirement, from the point of view of html5lib (and other tools I 
have developed), is that I should be able to copy sections of the spec 
text into the source code or testcases and license the whole under an 
MIT license (I don't recall how often we actually do this in html5lib 
but I certainly would like to do so more often in the future). It is 
unclear to me whether a CC-By license would allow this since it appears 
to impose additional constraints for attribution beyond those mandated 
by the MIT license.

It seems like the Apache License 2.0 has specific provision for 
additional attribution through a NOTICES file; there is no corresponding 
clause in the MIT license.

> Meanwhile, I have no problem operating under the assumption that a MIT 
> license would satisfy this working group's needs.  I'd even be willing 
> to go so far as to say it is the preferred option.  But I would hate to 
> have plh go into the AC meeting with just one option and have it 
> excluded for whatever reason when there might be other options that he 
> cuold work with.

Whilst I could live with a solution that required attribution, it would 
mean seriously considering relicensing html5lib to the Apache license or 
some other similar license that allows for additional attributions. 
Needless to say this would not be trivial (even as a small project we 
have some committers who have contributed a small amount of code and 
then moved on). Therefore I would really appreciate avoiding this situation.

I fear I have not said anything that Henri did not already say.
Received on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 15:10:49 UTC

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