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Subject: Re: [boost] Boost licensing information
From: Michael Caisse (mcaisse-lists_at_[hidden])
Date: 2017-04-13 16:45:55

On 4/13/17 08:56, Niall Douglas via Boost wrote:
> On 13/04/2017 15:06, Peter Dimov via Boost wrote:
>> Because the license clearly states that the
>> owner grants a right to use, and defending in court the proposition that
>> this grant somehow only applies for use in a copyright sense but not for
>> use in a patent sense (as if there's a difference) will be an
>> interesting exercise.
> I would never second guess a clever lawyer.
> The point being made is not whether any licence is enforceable in court.
> Most have never really been tested in a court, even the GPL. It is about
> risk minimisation to a lawyer, and persuading Corporate Lawyers that the
> licence on some bit of open source is minimum risk or not.
> I have seen no persuasive argument that the BSL is perceived as less
> legal risk to lawyers than the Apache 2.0. From all my interaction with
> Corporate Legal departments over the years, never mind trying to get
> Professional Indemnity insurance for works covered by the BSL as against
> a better known licence (tl;dr forget about it, they won't insure BSL
> licenced code, at least in Europe), I am very sure that the Apache 2.0
> is a safer, more acceptable, more inclusive, more commercially friendly
> licence than the BSL.
> New Boost libraries should as a minimum, use the Apache 2.0 licence in
> preference to the Boost licence. Period.
> Niall

Since there is plenty of this banter going on in the thread, let me add
my own experience of 11-years dealing with BSL.

We have had clients in the US, Europe, and Asia. Our clients include
very large multinational corporations that are household names and small
start-ups that are looking for exit plans to sell. Our clients work in
fields such as financial, medical, various research, consumer products,
business-to-business ventures, blaa blaa blaa... Many of the
organizations are already using Boost and some were introduced to Boost
during the project. Those we introduced to Boost (including large
international corps) have all had their teams of concerned lawyers
evaluate the BSL to determine the risk of including libraries. We have
some clients that require each new OSS library to be evaluated (add
Boost.MSM and have it and dependencies evaluated. Now add Boost.Spirit
and have it and dependencies evaluated.) We have helped several
companies through the IP purchase process in which OSS inventories are
scrutinized by teams of lawyers looking for a reason to not purchase or
to reduce the cost. Our most recent exercise in this was last month.

Not one lawyer along the way has raised a red flag. There has been more
than enough opportunity for the BSL to be rejected. Not one lawyer has
done so.

I am sorry you have had such a horrible experience with licensing.
Dealing with this stuff can be hard. Perhaps it is a reflection of the
quality of lawyer you are interacting with. Ambiguity *always* works
against the writer of the license. That is the legal way of it.

So while you have had the experience of "aversion to Boost code by
corporate legal teams" I have had the exact opposite experience. In
fact, we have clients that say if it isn't BSL ... it isn't going in.


Michael Caisse
Ciere Consulting

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