Subject: FOR APPROVAL: The license of Multics
From: John Cowan <>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2007 23:20:54 -0500

I'm going against precedent again and submitting a third-party license.
A large body of code of great historical importance (the Multics
operating system) was released under this license on November 9th.
I think it extremely unlikely that the license will be changed now,
or that it will ever be used for any other code.  I'd like Multics to
be officially Open Source.

As you all can see, the license is a permissive one, although it has
a long invariant text that has to be carried in the documentation.
It's closely related to the 3-clause BSD, and in my opinion is clearly
Open Source, though probably not compatible with the GPLv3.

Here's the license:

=====cut here=====
Historical Background

This edition of the Multics software materials and documentation is
provided and donated to Massachusetts Institute of Technology by Group
BULL including BULL HN Information Systems Inc.  as a contribution to
computer science knowledge.  This donation is made also to give evidence
of the common contributions of Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Bell Laboratories, General Electric, Honeywell Information Systems
Inc., Honeywell BULL Inc., Groupe BULL and BULL HN Information Systems
Inc. to the development of this operating system.  Multics development
was initiated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Project MAC
(1963-1970), renamed the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science and
Artificial Intelligence in the mid 1970s, under the leadership of
Professor Fernando Jose Corbato. Users consider that Multics provided the
best software architecture for managing computer hardware properly and
for executing programs. Many subsequent operating systems incorporated
Multics principles.  Multics was distributed in 1975 to 2000 by Group
Bull in Europe , and in the U.S. by Bull HN Information Systems Inc., as
successor in interest by change in name only to Honeywell Bull Inc. and
Honeywell Information Systems Inc. .


Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute these programs and their
documentation for any purpose and without fee is hereby granted,provided
that the below copyright notice and historical background appear in all
copies and that both the copyright notice and historical background and
this permission notice appear in supporting documentation, and that
the names of MIT, HIS, BULL or BULL HN not be used in advertising or
publicity pertaining to distribution of the programs without specific
prior written permission.
    Copyright 1972 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Honeywell Information
Systems Inc.
    Copyright 2006 by BULL HN Information Systems Inc.
    Copyright 2006 by Bull SAS
    All Rights Reserved

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In politics, obedience and support      John Cowan <>
are the same thing.  --Hannah Arendt