The name Canola probably makes you think of vegetable oil, but it's also the name of a newly open sourced media-center application for tablet-style PCs that run Linux. And whenever something is newly open sourced, that almost inevitably means close attention is paid to the terms of the licensing.
The first striking point: the license the Canola developers chose is the GPLv3 -- a derivate of the broadly-used GPLv2. V3 tightens up a number of loopholes (those revolving around what's been labeled the "Tivoization" issues), but the exact implementation of any stock software licensing scheme is of course up to the licensor. I couldn't tell you how many variations I've seen of the BSD three-clause license, some of which were intentionally hilarious (along the lines of "Do not use this software to do bad things or I will come over to your house and shaving-cream your car") -- but that's another story.
Where things get interesting is the exact application of the license. The Canola team went with GPLv3, but added an exemption: the licensee isn't obliged to include installation information and source code along with the program when they redistribute it. In short, it's a fusion of v2 and v3, and the license experts who eyeballed the changes are A-OK with that.
What I'm now bracing for is a backlash from the rest of the community -- from people who have made hard decisions about choosing v2 vs. v3, and are now going to excoriate Canola for "fence-straddling" or something equally imbecilic. If it doesn't happen, I'll be pleasantly surprised -- but changes to licensing and arguments over licensing seem, historically, to go hand-in-hand.
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