Cherry-picking license proposals

David Johnson david at
Sun Jan 21 08:01:41 UTC 2001

On Saturday 20 January 2001 08:03 pm, Lou Grinzo wrote:

> With all due and considerable respect to Lawrence and the rest of the OSI,
> this is not a criteria for prioritizing the list.  It's a statement that it
> might be better to discourage similar licenses.  I disagree strongly.

And I'll have to disagree with your disagreement :-)

OSI is not trying to discourage new licenses, as far as I can tell. But they 
do seem to discourage licenses that are redundant. I agree with this stance 
(though I am unassociated with OSI). If there is a license proposed to OSI 
that is similar to an existing license, the onus should be on the submitter 
to state why the minor difference is important, relevant or necessary. 
Prioritizing the list should be based on the licenses' importance. All things 
being equal, a license that is similar to an existing license is less 
important than one that is significantly different than the others. 

The purpose of OSI shouldn't be an approval organ for licenses. Instead it 
should further the ends of Open Source Software. It can accomplish this task 
easier if the user of OSS isn't inundated with hundreds of licenses that 
differ only in minor details. And as the saying goes, "the devil is in the 
details", and it would be these minor points that will get users in legal 

David Johnson

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