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osxfuse's new non-free license #616

cadmartin opened this issue Aug 24, 2019 · 3 comments


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commented Aug 24, 2019

New releases have the following message in their description:

The license has changed. Starting with the 3.10.0 release, redistributions bundled with commercial software are not allowed without specific prior written permission. Please contact Benjamin Fleischer.

However the LICENSE file does not reflect the new licensing terms.

For those of us considering contributing this project or using it as a dependency, can we get a clarification on the project's new non-free license from @bfleischer?



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commented Sep 17, 2019

@cadmartin the project is no longer open source either.

The latest at is v3.8.3. contains no code.

Silently making a project closed-source like this, is at the very least, poor form. The updater should at least notify end users that this is happening, as well.

This post on the Google group seems to indicate what's going on:

Also #590


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commented Sep 17, 2019

@d235j How would you have handled the situation? You have read #590, so you know that FUSE on macOS would most likely have died without external funding. Trust me, I tried to convince companies to fund the project for years but nothing much came of it.

@cadmartin FUSE releases up until version 3.8.3 are open source. For now, newer releases are closed source, with libosxfuse being the exemption. FUSE is and always will be free for non-commercial use. Bundling FUSE with commercial software however requires a license starting with version 3.10. If you are interested in obtaining such a license write me an email.

@bfleischer bfleischer self-assigned this Sep 17, 2019
@bfleischer bfleischer added the question label Sep 17, 2019

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commented Sep 17, 2019

@bfleischer while I dislike that it’s closed source, that is a separate issue. I’m only advocating for transparency here.

Informing people means updating the main repo README to state that versions starting with 3.9.0 are no longer open source, and that versions starting with 3.10.0 are under a new license, with a link to the license, and

Informing people updating from 3.8.0 or 3.9.0 to 3.10.0 using the updater, as well as informing anyone who has updated via updater without being informed, of the source code availability change and the license change.

When I find out that some software package has changed license only because I’ve gone to the website and poked around, I tend to become very disillusioned due to the lack of transparency — it feels like a bait and switch. Go ahead and change the license — but let me know about it before I install the new version.

(Also separately — note that the APSL which might still cover some components of the package outside of libfuse has a weak copyleft. libosxfuse is derived from LGPL code and cannot be closed.)

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