Re: Boost license 1.0 is not OSI compliant (i.e. not an open source license)

Alex Shulgin <>
Fri, 14 Sep 2007 18:02:49 CST
On Sep 14, 10:19 pm, "Alf P. Steinbach" <> wrote:

As a hobby project, I've been fiddling with a ref-counted C++ string
"mostly constant time" class with Boost license, <url:>; Boost license because I gather
that most C++ practitioners are familiar with Boost and can feel safe
with that license -- no more hidden legal traps than we so far have
had the impression that using Boost has.

Now I thought I'd put that project on SourceForge, mainly to gain some
experience with open source development. Also, perhaps others could
then participate. But it was rejected due to the Boost license, which
apparently does not permit distribution of the source code!

Quoting the SourceForge project rejection:

Current status: Rejected by
Review comment: Greetings,

This project is being rejected at this time as the selected license is
not OSI compliant. The main point here is that the license you selected
does not explicitly state that that the source code may also be freely

I recommend that you select a different license, the BSD license may be
more along the lines you seek, and resubmit this project request. We
will approve it at that time if you select that license or other similar
such OSI compliant license.

Best regards,

Daniel Hinojosa - Sr. Manager Support,

Checking... Sure enough, there's no Boost license in the OSI list, at
<url:>. And this
license is a few years old. If it was OK as open source, presumably it
would be in the OSI list by now?

Hm... in my opinion boost license is compatible with the modified BSD
license. Also, please note that lists it not just as a free
software license, but even GPL-compatible one! (see

I suggest you submit your project to Savannah (
Savannah is a central point for development, distribution and
maintenance of Free Software that runs on free operating systems. And
Savannah hacker do really respect computing freedom. :-)

Since OSI doesn't recognize the Boost license as open source, are all we
who have simply downloaded and installed the Boost library in source
code form, not paying a penny, in violation of Boost's license?

I think they are plain wrong--the mere fact that license does not
mention 'source code' does not make it non-free. In this particular
case it seems like source code is the only way of redistributing boost
libraries (might not be valid for derived works, tough), so probably
license authors didn't bother.

Or should we not use the Boost license for open source C++ code?

I guess so :-) Why people tend to invent a new license for just about
every single library anyway?.. Wouldn't it be easier to adopt GPL,
BSD and MIT? (Even these three is far more than enough, as for me.)
This would certainly save a _lot_ of time and effort.

Kind regards,
PS: some useful (hopefully) links :-) -- Free Software Foundation -- The GNU Project -- Philosophy of the
GNU Project

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