Sybase Open Watcom Public License

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Sybase Open Watcom Public License
DFSG compatible No
FSF approved No[1]
OSI approved Yes[2]

The Sybase Open Watcom Public Licence is an open source license that has been approved by the Open Source Initiative.[2] It is the licence under which the Open Watcom C/C++ compiler is released.

The license has not been accepted as "free" under the Debian Free Software Guidelines, due to controversy about the license's termination clauses.[3][4]

The Free Software Foundation has stated that the license is not free as it requires the source to be published when you "deploy" the software, including private use.[1] This goes beyond what their GPL demands, but has similarity with the AGPL from 2008 which is considered free.

The Fedora project also considers the license as non free, citing the FSF argumentation.[5]


The draft of version 2.0 of the Licence was published on 20 January 2004. This version incorporated changes from Apple and made the licence less specific to OpenWatcom.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b "Various Licenses and Comments about Them - Sybase Open Watcom Public License version 1.0 (#Watcom)". Retrieved 2015-12-23. This is not a free software license. It requires you to publish the source code publicly whenever you “Deploy” the covered software, and “Deploy” is defined to include many kinds of private use. 
  2. ^ a b "Sybase Open Watcom Public License version 1.0". Approved Licences. Open Source Initiative. 
  3. ^ Debian Bug report #376431 RFP: openwatcom.
  4. ^ Is the Sybase Open Watcom License ok?, thread on debian-legal mailing list (July 2006).
  5. ^ Fedora Wiki: Licensing
  6. ^ Markus Neifer (2004-01-20). "MN Watcom News Page". 
  7. ^


Further reading[edit]