License backlog - OSI is making itself irrellevant

David Johnson david at
Fri Aug 31 16:07:28 UTC 2001

On Friday 31 August 2001 06:14 am, Roger Browne wrote:

> If OSI can't clear their backlog very soon, OSI certification will become
> irrelevant and SourceForge acceptance will become the preferred test for
> whether a license is open source.

A touchy subject, and one I've tried to stay out of.

To use religious terminology without intending any slight towards any part:

One of the sacred duties of the FSF is to proclaim the sanctity of certain 
licenses and the eternal damnation of others, in an effort to save the souls 
of the users. If the FSF did not perform their duty in a timely and diligent 
manner, the strong possibility would exist that a user might erroneous use a 
license that was not Free, and would subjugated, dominated and sentenced to 
purgatory for twenty million years.

But the OSI has not religious or political impetus to quickly approve 
licenses. They approve licenses for pragmatic and utilitarian reasons. If a 
license is not approved or disapproved in time, no one will go to hell over 
it. But there could be pragmatic and utilitarian repercussions.

Therefore, instead of continually berating the *volunteers* of the OSI, 
perhaps certain parties should consider BOTH the FSF and OSI lists of 
approved licenses. Looking at the FSF lists, I see that the W3C is included 
(but that the EFL is not). I suggest that entities such as Sourceforge use 
both the OSI and FSF lists in their criteria, and that the Eiffel folks keep 
needling the OSI folks, while at the same time asking the FSF for approval as 


David Johnson
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