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The Promiscuous Source Definition


A further refinement of The Open Market Source Definition.

Compare the following point by point to "The Open Market Source Definition".

  1. It may be passed around freely.
  2. It exposes all.
  3. It learns new tricks.
  4. It may attempt to protect its reputation.
  5. It can be used by anyone.
  6. It has no inhibitions.
  7. It has no reservations about being passed along.
  8. It does not get attached.
  9. It plays well in group activities.
  10. It will allow itself to be sold.
  11. It may be used without charge.
  12. It does not mind sharing.

Further requirements specific to that subset of Open Market Source licenses that are also Promiscuous.

13. It needs to reproduce frequently.
14. It flaunts its new tricks.

While the first few points are as explained in "The Open Market Source Definition" document, the following new requirements need some introduction.

13. It needs to reproduce frequently.

The license must require that the source code be distributed when any compiled version is distributed by the licensee.

The MPL and GPL meet this definitional requirement; the BSD license, the X consortium/MIT style licenses, and release to the Public Domain do not.

14. It flaunts its new tricks.

The license must require that the source for any modifications be distributed to the public regardless of whether or not a compiled version of the same is made available as a product. Thus, even modifications to code that are only used internally or behind the scenes must be propagated.

I am currently unaware of any Open Source license that meets this final definitional requirement.

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