The TWIT license: An exceptional license

In a previous post I discussed the TWIT license, which differs from the “approved open-source” MIT license only by changing the sentence:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.


The above copyright notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

I said that while I could argue that the changes were such that the TWIT license was “open-source” as the term is commonly used, I could not say that TWIT was an “approved open-source” license unless I submitted it to OSI for their review and got their approval.

However, by reading recent news reports, I have learned of an exceptional technique that lets me say TWIT is open-source without having ever to go near the OSI folks. Why should they be bothered to review something that I know is patently obvious?

This technique is so exceptional in its power that it takes its name from that power — licensing by exception.

Here is how it works. I just say

The TWIT license is not a new license. It is just the fully-approved open-source MIT license with an added exception — you don’t have to copy the permissions, just the copyright notice.

All done! Wasn’t that easy? I have made an exception to recognize Nancy’s exceptional needs. Good work, Dave. Got the job done with no change in the license and no trouble to the OSI.

This is such a clever technique that I doubt I could have figured it out by myself. But at least it’s no longer a secret, especially since it’s been used twice.

Those who have followed the news of the recent Sun / FSF alliance may have noted that the alliance announced that Java was being “open-sourced”

Sun is now seeding open-source communities around its implementations of the Java platform. The company is releasing the code under an open-source license, and putting in place the infrastructure for a community to collaborate on a source-code commons.

The code is available today under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL); it will soon also be available under the GPL v2 license plus the ClassPath Exception.

There you go. gplv2 didn’t meet the needs of the alliance, so they had to create an exception to get the job done — a “ClassPath” exception, whatever that means, though perhaps it has to do with unusual licensing issues raised by Java’s exception handler. [1]

Or perhaps I got it wrong. I’m hoping that the OSI reviewed the license to be used for the code to be released by the Sun / FSF alliance, in which case can someone please tell me the approval date of OSI’s announcement?


1. I know it doesn’t, but all bets are off when you see an opportunity to have fun with a pun.


One Comment

  1. Posted December 3, 2006 at 11:46 | Permalink | Reply

    Adding permissions to an OSI approved license, like FSF and Sun do, trivially results in a license conforming to the OSD. OSI approved the GPL ages ago.

    Half a week of blogging as a setup for this? Amazing. 😉

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