Open Sound System
Licensing Information

GPL version 2

CDDL version 1.0

BSD license

4Front Commercial License

Open Source Licensing for Open Sound System

Feb 13 2008

The source code for Open Sound System is currently avaliable under four different licenses:

  • GPL version 2

  • CDDL

  • BSD

  • Commercial licenses are available from 4Front Technologies for applications and systems that are not compatible with the above open source licenses. Commercial licenses are also available for entities not wishing to use Open Sound System under any of the above open source licenses or who would like to get technical support from 4Front Technologies.

The GPL source package contains all the operating system ports. The CDDL package contains only the Solaris version and the BSD package only the FreeBSD version (for the time being).

Note that under all the above licensing schemes the copyright owner is 4Front Technologies.

Open Sound System licensing FAQ

Q: Why GPLv2 and not GPLv3?

A: The GPLv3 license is not ready yet. We will possibly release OSS under GPLv3 too. However we cannot make any decisions before the final GPLv3 text is available.

Q: Why CDDL?

A: We have realized that some operating system communities will not accept GPL. For this reason we don’t have any other choice but to release OSS under the CDDL and BSD licenses for the Solaris and BSD communities.

Q: Can I mix OSS files from the packages with different licenses?

A: No. You can use the GPLv2, CDDL 1.0 or BSD package but not any mixture of the files.

Q: I have developed an OSS compatible driver based on the OSS API specification. Will users of my driver have to comply with your licensing rules?

A: No. The OSS API specification is fully “open”. All implementations of the OSS API can define their own licensing rules provided that the implementation has not borrowed any code directly from our sources.

Q: Is everything in OSS open sourced?

A: No. There are three drivers that have mosty been written by the hardware manufacturers. We are not permitted to release their sources unless their authors as us to do so.

Also some parts of the envy24 and envy24ht drivers contain some code written under NDA. We have not yet received the approval to open source the code from all manufacturers. So these drivers cannot be open sourced just now. If we don't get the approval in reasonable time we will distribute these drivers with the offending code stripped from the sources.

Finally there are some effects in the old softoss driver that are not included in the source packages. We will make the decision about their future later. At this moment it looks like we will remove the softoss driver from the OSS package so these effects will not be used in OSS anyway.

We reserve the right to include some “closed source” drivers only in our binary distribution if the hardware manufacturers refuse to give the programming specs without NDA. Our policy is to promote open source but not to enforce it. We will let hardware manufacturers to decide if they like to select the commercial distribution mode instead of the open source one with much wider customer base.