Chad Perrin: SOB

6 December 2008

PDL -> OWL: the Open Works License is born

Filed under: Geek,Liberty — apotheon @ 12:44

Welcome to the release party for the Open Works License.

The Public Distribution License was intended to be a permissive, weakly heritable counterpart to the more strongly heritable CCD CopyWrite License — both of which are Copyfree licenses. Because of a namespace clash with Sun Microsystems’ Public Documentation License when abbreviated, however, the need for a name change reared its ugly head. Luckily, I had never gotten around to incrementing the version number for the Public Distribution License past 0.2, so at least people can’t claim I’ve destabilized a stable release version.

The impending change to the name from PDL to OWL was discussed on the Copyfree Discussion Mailing List a little over a month ago. There will be a mascot/logo created at some point in the near future (please feel free to submit images for consideration via my contact page or in discussion on the mailing list), but I’m not really a graphic designer at heart, so even though I have some minimal facility with software like the GIMP and some ideas in my head about how the mascot/logo image should look, I haven’t created it yet and probably won’t for a while yet. Something I want to do with it is keep it simple enough that it can be roughly (and recognizably) represented in a 16×16 pixel favicon, which will probably be the biggest challenge if I make the thing myself.

While I was at it, I made a change to the license itself: I eliminated the disclaimer block (and gave it a 0.4 version number — it went from PDL 0.2 to OWL 0.4 with this alteration). My thinking when I added the disclaimer text in the first place was that warranties can be added separately, if you really want ’em, but I came to realize that there might be some conflicts between the disclaimer text and any warranties or guarantees, so I decided to eliminate the disclaimer from the license. I replaced the disclaimer with a much simpler statement that no warranty should be implied by the license or distribution under its terms.

I haven’t done so yet, but I’ll probably modify the Notice page to mention something about independent notice of warranty or guarantee, at some point. Maybe. On the other hand, I may just leave figuring that out as an exercise for the reader.

While I’m at it, all original (not quoted from someone else, et cetera) content here at SOB — unless I specifically note otherwise — is henceforth distributable under the terms of the OWL. Merry Christmas.

All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License