http://www.flickr.com/photos/sfslim/98004280/There’s been a vibrant discussion on TSS about whether a product can be open source if it’s using an MPL+Attribution license. Note, this is different from attribution we all know in the form of giving credit in Readme files and the like. What’s being discussed here deals with placing logos, URLs and text on each and every user interface screen. At the extreme, and for a laugh, see the picture for what a GUI could look like if leading OSS software went with an MPL+Attribution (or similar) license.

It’s unfortunate that Dave & Ross from MuleSource got deluged with the questions and arrows, as this really is a much broader question. These guys deserve a beer or two just for responding to all the TSS posts in such an open (and friendly) fashion.

I can see both sides of the argument. Matt (and again), and Alex have made some interesting points. Here are some counter points.

I can understand why this topic highlighting “community” differences around the use of MPL+Attribution may cause Matt to claim that infighting is worse than proprietary software. However, let’s not forget his words days ago about defining an open source company: “…But you know the best policing mechanism I’ve found? The community.”

I think that the discussion on TSS has been helpful in bringing some questions to the surface, and generally educating the community about the views of “both sides”.

But as Matt states, the community should be pressing the OSI to make a decision on MPL+Attribution licenses.  And while he’s on the OSI board, he’s won’t vote on the topic because his employer uses an MPL+Attribution license (sounds fair!).

Lots more to come I’m sure