ask for APSL? for real this time?

Lex Spoon lex at
Wed Jan 7 19:35:46 UTC 2004

Before answering specific points, let me just remind everyone that this
is a simple proposal that takes low effort, that seems likely to work,
and that can move a large distance towards getting rid of Squeak's legal
problems.  While it is true that we can survive without the change, that
is no reason not to do something easy to improve the situation.  And
while it is true that many people are satisified with Squeak-L, please
allow those others of us who are not to, er, spend our time as we see
fit.  :)

Cees de Groot <cg at> wrote:
> Lex Spoon <squeak-dev at> said:
> >Cees, shouldn't we at least ask? [...]
> [...]
> >> I have asked for that about a year ago and got a clear and resounding
> >> 'No' as an answer from Apple. 
> >> 
> Which part of my above statement is unclear, Lex? I *did* ask. 

I have already posted what I thought was unclear:  Who did you ask, what
exactly did you ask them, and what exactly did they say?   I simply find
it hard to believe that your experience was so final that it would not
even be worth a phone call from Alan.

goran.krampe at wrote:
> The only real practical problem AFAIK with the current license is that
> it isn't OSI certified. IIRC the export clause was the problem. That
> wasn't a problem for the Debian people, they instead got scared by the
> indemnification stuff. Anyway, these two clauses in Squeak-L thus
> prevents Squeak from being an option/included in many different
> contexts.

The problems are real, as far as I know.  I would love to be convinced
that this is just OSI and Debian being extremely nitpicky, but so far it
seems they are simply being more observant than most.

As it stands, Squeak is only available to certain countries of the
world, and it incurs a hefty liability on anyone who merely
*distributes* Squeak.  These are things that will bother both open
source zealots, and also companies with conservative legal staff.

It seems to be fine for hobbiests and researchers, however, as well as
for commercial uses such as web servers that don't involve actually
distributing Squeak itself.

"Gary Fisher" <gafisher at> wrote:
> As Andrew has so well (and
> carefully, and repeatedly) pointed out, license negotiations are never
> trivial; what was agreed to when Squeak was perceived as little more than a
> hobby project may be seen differently now that it's become, at least
> potentially, commercially viable.

On the other hand, that is also why we should do it as early as
possible.  Over time Squeak's profile will increase even more.  Further,
IP law is likely to become more and more established and important over
time; it would be extremely nice to be in a herd instead of having a
one-off license.  Note that APSL has a versioning provision; any updates
that Apple makes to APSL will also apply to Squeak, if Squeak is under

This negotiation has all the markings of being as trivial as they come. 
Apple has already agreed to open source Squeak, and further their PR
right now includes a commitment to open source software.  It would be
somewhat embarassing to them if it became known they were impeding their
own open source project.

Andrew C. Greenberg" <werdna at> wrote:
> [...] this time, as I read the 
> reiterated plaint of the "I want it in Debian" movement, the phrase 
> above actually struck me -- intellectually -- like fingernails on a 
> chalkboard.
> Why?  Why does this matter?  

Because Debian has rejected Squeak on *legal* issues.  This is different
from OSI's rejection or FSF's indifference.  Debian has decided that the
liability of distributing Squeak is too high.  Please consider that
carefully:  some people have decided, after careful consideration of
Squeak-L, that they are scared of merely sending around copies of
Squeak.  I see no reason that other groups will not decide the same
thing: that is a scary looking indemnification clause.

> > We surely want to present a simple no-brainer proposal to
> > the Apple lawyers, and APSL is fine.
> When we last considered this, I suggested that we try to reach 
> consensus on a license, and there is none.  To be sure, Apple's 
> consent, while necessary, is not sufficient.  Unless nearly every 
> contributor signs on to the change, it just doesn't matter what any 
> segment of us considers to be fine.

Everyone seems to be satisfied with APSL....

goran.krampe at wrote:
> So finally, my suggestion is to continue with defining Squeak in terms
> of packages and their proper licenses, continue Squat, meet halfway and
> then be able to produce images by combining packages and then, simply by
> choosing packages under MIT or other OSI licenses gradually getting a
> Squeak that gives us all the possibilities we want.

I really like this strategy in general, and it will succeed for us even
if Apple says no.  I'd like us to at least ask, however.  If Apple says
yes, it would save us a lot of clean room rewriting.

Lex Spoon

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