Matthew C. Weigel weigel+ at
Tue Aug 28 05:14:04 UTC 2001

On Mon, 27 Aug 2001 email at wrote:

> Because there is currently no OSI approved license
> that says "copy/distribute/no-modify".
> yet the defition appears to support one.

I've addressed this.

"There's a significant difference between being able to distribute
pristine source+patches versus pristine documentation+patches.  One
would normally expect to have to build source."

I offered the opinion that "pristine source" ruins "usability" for
documents much more than for software, and thus should not be covered.

Keep in mind you're trying to apply guidelines for software to a
non-software document.  There are some changes.

> >Great, someone else who's going to save open source from the people who
> >understand it.  Why are people so enchanted with the name "open source"
> >that they want to attach it to whatever they do?
> misdirection and drama. I'm not out to save anyone.

What do you call a rant about how hypochritical us poor license-discuss
folks are, ignoring virtually everything I said?  If you're not out to
save us, then you're just trying to show how smart you are.  Oops.

> My original email stated that I'm looking for a license based on the
> OSI definition prohibiting item #3 (derived works) by allowing #4
> (patches).

And my original email stated that you needed to go somewhere else.

> I'm not breaking the definition of Open Source.

Your problem isn't even *relevant* to open source software!

> there simply isn't a license currently approved that does what I'm
> looking for. But my request was within OSI's own definition.

>From the OSD:

}The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the
}following criteria:

What software are you planning on distributing?

> If I am misunderstanding item #4 in the Definition,
> then perhaps there is no way to do what I want
> to do with an OSI approvable license.

You misunderstood the preamble.

> if so, I'll move on.

Then do so.  Look to projects that are putting an effort into this,
like the FSF or LDP.

> it was a relavent question. no need for flames.

Do you still have copy of all the messages I sent, and the messages you
wrote responding to them?  Honestly, I tried to be helpful and point
out that your problem isn't addressed by the OSI.

> : 4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code
> : The license may restrict source-code from being
> : distributed in modified form only if the license
> : allows the distribution of "patch files" with
> : the source code for the purpose of modifying
> : the program at build time.
> Unless, of course, you're waving your fists in the air about
> something that isn't part of the Open Source Initiative's commitment.
> Are you speaking for OSI, or for yourself?

No, I don't speak for the OSI.

> Are you speaking your own agenda here rather than OSI's?
> If so, I'll politely ignore you henceforth.

My agenda here is to move you out of the way so that more relevant
things can be discussed, or I can get back to work.  Which is to say,
my agenda is to get on with the OSI's agenda.

> >> Yet, the GPL license, as a document itself,
> >> licensed as "copy/distribute/no-modify", is:
> >
> >What can I say here but you're being obtuse?
> >Here's an interesting point: the GPL ain't software.
> I was attempting to be very explicit.
> I understand the GPL isn't software.
> and I noticed the GPL isn't licensed
> under a software style license.
> it's licensed under a document style license.

Good for you.
You're right.
And you're wrong.

Its copyright notice is the type reserved for licenses themselves.
Licenses don't change when people make derivative works.  Documentation

> yes, there are times where it makes sense to license
> a piece of text as 'no-modify'. yes, exactly.
> yes, that's exactly the kind of license I'm looking for.

I never said that there weren't times "no modify" was good.  If I were
to make my public key available, I sure as hell wouldn't want someone
changing it.

But a PGP key ain't documentation.

> >Get a clue.  The GPL is not documentation, any more than it is
> >software. No one ever argued that the GPL is free software.
> its not software, and its not a document?

It's not documentation.  And no, it's not software.  Never said it
wasn't a document.

> you cannot put the GPL license in some <meta>-world where the rules
> do not apply.

Actually, I can.

> The GPL is a document that is copyrighted by FSF and licensed under a
> "copy/distribute/no-modify" license. It does not merit special
> protection from the rest of the world.

Yes, it does.

> >> It's good enough for GPL to use the GDL, so it's good enough for me.
> >What a maroon.
> ah, name-calling, a new low. I must ask if you're representing OSI,
> or are these your own opinions?

Why would you assume that I represent OSI?  Because I quote and
paraphrase text from their website?  And what makes you think me
calling you a name started this?

> OSI's home page starts out with this commitment:
> :Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to
> :managing and promoting the Open Source Definition for the good of the
> :community, specifically through the OSI Certified Open Source Software
> :certification mark and program.
> and name-calling, beligerency, sarcasm, and a liberal
> dose of a napalm-coated-flame would be in line with
> OSI's commitment to "the good of the community"???
> I am at a loss.

Note how documentation isn't in there either.  Tell ya what: if you go
away, I'll stop claiming to represent the OSI.

> Throwing your fists in the air, screaming and shouting, will bring no
> good will to the Open Source movement for those uninitiated in OSI.

I'm sorry, were there folks here on the list that aren't familiar with
open source?  How did they find the list?

> If you're truly committed to the good of the community, then you have
> failed.

I feel really bad about myself right now.  I think I'll go cry.


> perhaps that is the approach I will use, I don't know.
> Someone sent me this link off the list:
> and I might take a look at that as well.

That looks like an excellent start.

> My guess is they sent it off list because they were afraid of getting
> similarly flamed by you. if so, you're censoring the list with
> beligerency. this is not 'good of the community'.

If anyone feels restricted from speaking because of what I say, I
invite them to contact me off-list, and I'll be as civil as Ann
Landers.  I kinda thought this crap started with your rant about us
license-discuss types.

> >What you want is to be able to attach the OSI service mark to your
> >document.  People in Hell want icewater.
> Aaahhh, I think I see what might be part of the issue.
> I don't want to hijack the OSI mark.

Y'know, according to OSI's website, they are dedicated to promoting the
OSD, specifically through their service mark.  Both the OSD and the
service mark are explicitly for software.  So there's not much else you
could be doing, but trying to get it OSI approved (whether that's
hijacking or not).

> OSI has built something that is an attempt to universally define what
> is and is not open-source. I respect and admire that. Nor do I want
> to take anything away from that.


> I'm not looking for OSI to bend the rules for me, just so I can
> license my document the way I want to license it, and have the OSI
> mark on the front cover. If the license I want cannot be worded in a
> way that is OSI compliant, then I'll move on. Maybe I'll use the W3
> license or something else.

The license won't be licensing something that *can be* OSD compliant.

> If my request does not fit the OSI definition, then I believe this
> list might save itself a flame war or two in the future if it
> clarified its mission statement and open-source definition.
> i.e. OSI deals only with software licenses.
> OSI does not deal with documentation licences,
> even if related to software content.

If you read the main page, or the OSD, you can not come away without
seeing that it applies specifically to software.

> (a pointer offsite would be a friendly hint to go away.)

That's a great idea.  I hope the OSI's new webmaster is listening.

> And item 4 of the definition may nearly as well be removed. Or
> clarified that it really isn't in teh spirit of open source.

It isn't in the spirit, but for software, it's good enough.
 Matthew Weigel
 Research Systems Programmer
 mcweigel at ne weigel at

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