NASA Technical Report Recommends Adopting Mozilla Public License
Sunday May 18th, 2003
Adam Hauner wrote in to tell us about a NASA technical report which recommends that the US space agency distribute some of their software under the Mozilla Public License. The report, by Patrick J. Moran of the NAS Systems Division at the NASA Ames Research Center, explains how open source is compatible with NASA's mission and evaluates several licenses before recommending that the Mozilla Public License be an option for software distribution.
The document lists several reasons why the MPL was chosen: "the license is recognized by the Open Source Initiative, there would be no need to develop yet another license and submit it to the OSI for approval; by requiring that derived work also be Open Source, NASA has some assurance that derivative works will be available to the agency; the license was developed with input from legal and technical experts and subjected to public review, it appears to be one of the more carefully written licenses available; the license does not have the GPL 'license capture' feature, in general it does not have the political baggage of the GNU licenses."
Monday May 19th, 2003 12:51 PM
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As someone who works with NASA (on the HST) and is an Open Source advocate I am really pleased to see these ideas starting to receive official sanction.
Educational institutions have embraced Open Source from the beginning. It is time that the U.S. government do the same. Remember that everything that NASA does is done with public money. The taxpayers have paid for the software and deserve to be able to use and modify it. As an enlightened nation we should share this privilege with the world. This drives progress.
I also believe that Open Source licenses are a wonderful complement to the Freedom of Information Act and are in keeping with the principle of transparent government.
Kudos to the Mozilla team for creating (and publicizing) a license that furthers the movement and one that people are not afraid of.