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Re: Licensing

From: Rigo Wenning <rigo@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2008 11:23:58 +0100
To: fantasai <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>
Cc: public-css-testsuite@w3.org, team-legal <team-legal@w3.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Steve Bratt <steve@w3.org>
Message-Id: <200803121123.59508.rigo@w3.org>

I have taken notice of the release of the test cases by Microsoft. 

If Microsoft releases test cases under a certain license, developers 
may use those tests. As we already agreed, the "W3C testsuite" has a 
different meaning. W3C does not prevent developers using tests they 
find somewhere. But W3C -as a vendor neutral non-commercial 
organization- has to carefully consider how it will frame its own 
testsuite so that people can rely on it and also trust it as an 
unbiased way to evaluate tools against the W3C specifications. 

This is distinct from developers using tests to debug stuff. There is 
a large overlap between debugging and official testsuites and we are 
working hard to enable the synergies. But this is not done just by 
releasing stuff under the BSD license. The role of W3C in all this is 
different from Microsoft's role. So arguing that Microsoft's release 
of their tests under BSD doesn't help our decision as our decision 
has different requirements to take into account.

Reminding me every 14 days that I have an open action to come up with 
a solution helps me to keep this high up in my overloaded to-do list, 
but it won't convince me to use a BSD license for all W3C testsuites. 
There are more testsuites than just CSS and CSS is not a special case 
here. In light of the high impact, I prefer taking my time. 

Note well that the CSS testsuite already contains a marked up 
distinction between tests and harness that can be leveraged in a 
license allowing to change the harness, but not the tests. 



On Wednesday 12 March 2008, fantasai wrote:
> Rigo Wenning wrote:
> > On Monday 25 February 2008, fantasai wrote:
> > [...]
> >
> >> My personal recommendation is using the 3-clause BSD license
> >> (which forbids using W3C's name to promote or endorse
> >> derivatives without express written consent) together with a
> >> trademark policy that protects "CSS Conformance Test" and
> >> similar. Our test suite build systems can automatically alter
> >> the test titles to add or remove the trade marks for use on W3C
> >> vs. use elsewhere.
> >
> > you suggested this already to me and I have taken due notice of
> > this suggestion. David Baron had similar suggestions. Note well
> > that trademark protection takes a long time to put into place. We
> > are exploring all those solutions.
> >
> > But thanks to remind us again.
> I hope team-legal noticed Microsoft's latest announcement:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-css-testsuite/2008Mar/00
>    "These tests are being offered under the BSD license" -- Chris
> Wilson
> This means whatever license W3C uses, those 700+ tests will also be
> available under the BSD License. In other words, W3C cannot add any
> effective licensing restrictions on top of the BSD license for
> these tests because Microsoft's copy will always be available under
> the BSD license.
> David Baron, Boris Zbarsky, and Lachlan Hunt are all also willing
> to personally relicense their tests under the BSD 3-clause, so
> effectively a large proportion of CSS test contributions available
> under the BSD 3-clause, which renders any licensing restrictions
> W3C might impose on these tests useless.
> Progress on soliciting more contributions is blocked on having an
> uncertain licensing situation for the test suites. What's holding
> you guys up? And when can we expect resolution of this situation?
> ~fantasai

Received on Wednesday, 12 March 2008 10:24:13 UTC

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