Thoughts on The Future of the NPL/CNPL

Moving forward there are a few goals I have for the NPL and CNPL.

  1. A dedicated and well-designed website (not just the webpage on my site).
  2. Submit the NPL and CNPL to the SPDX License list, which is often referenced by software and other license lists to derive licenses from their their “abbreviations” (like “NPL” for example).
  3. Commission help with license review and expose the license text to more scrutiny from people interested in contributing, from lawyers or from marginalized people.

Hopefully number 1 will lead to number 3 by being shared around and causing people to read the license text and file issues on the tracker with any concerns. I'm envisioning a very basic website which starts on a homepage that will guide a user to choosing between the NPL and CNPL (what is more appropriate for their project), then providing an outline of the license's principles, a how-to guide for using the licenses in their projects, and a page with the texts of each license as well as a link to the bug tracker to suggest changes or correct mistakes on the gittea tracker for the respective projects (A CONTRIBUTING/LICENSE page that is easier to read than the plaintext license).

As for number 2, I'm interested in getting the NPL and CNPL on more lists like the SPDX License list, even if it attracts the ire of free software purists and “open source” liberals who will be upset we're making a persuasive argument for depriving their sick organizations of free labor while simultaneously keeping it open for the commons. Getting onto lists such as these is crucial if the NPL and CNPL are ever going to be integrated into distros with careful license management systems, even if they are not included into their main repositories. Hopefully this will result in projects using these licenses having an easier time of getting packaged and hosted by communities (at least on non-FDSG distros). In addition hopefully this will alleviate worries of some people who are concerned about how NPL/CNPL projects will be legally integrated into other projects.

To be perfectly clear, neither the NPL nor the CNPL will be marked as open source or free software on any license lists since neither conform to their respective definitions due to the non-violence provisions in the license. The SPDX license list already has licenses which do not meet either definition and some of them are pretty much just proprietary so I'm fairly confident that outside of technicalities I could eventually get them included on the SPDX list or at least other ones, hopefully mostly in a positive light (I don't expect anything short of firm resistance from the FSF here when they add it to their list).

My only concern with number 2 is that the “abbreviation” NPL is already reserved for the Netscape Public License. Which leads to something else I'm thinking of next. There may be a need to choose a new abbreviation for the NPL for the convenience of license lists and related tooling. I do not want to change the name of the Nonviolent Public License, or the abbreviation for its counterpart, the CNPL, however I may have to change the license abbrevation for the Nonviolent Public License to NVPL. I will be prepared to do this upon feedback from the SPDX license list after I submit the NPL to them.

Personally I'm fairly busy with work right now in real life and it has drained attention away from this project for a month or so, but I plan on diving back into it soon enough. Hopefully before June at least. This wraps up this update on the effort to subvert copyright to prevent violence and encourage reciprocity and openness in software. Wish all of you the best out there, stay safe inside and care for the vulnerable! Let me know what you think on the fediverse :)