Cherry-picking license proposals

Lou Grinzo lgrinzo at
Sun Jan 21 13:38:52 UTC 2001

>From David Johnson:

>> With all due and considerable respect to Lawrence and the rest of the
>> this is not a criteria for prioritizing the list.  It's a statement that
>> 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
>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
>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
>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

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, then. <g>

As I see it, the sorting out of licenses is another thing (somewhat like
business models) best left to the marketplace and experimentation, not
dictated or even guided by any one group, even a group like OSI that has the
best of intentions.  If the OSI places an "onus on the submitter to state
why the minor difference is important, relevant or necessary", then they're
stifling experimentation.  Perhaps a little, but they're stifling it

I find it painfully ironic that given all the complaints I hear from
companies about the technical difficulties of developing for Linux, which
can almost universally be traced to a lack of standardization, the one area
that includes Linux where there's even a trace of real pressure to
standardize is in licenses.  Yes, I know all about the LSB, the FHS, etc.,
but who's applying pressure for those to be enforced?  IMO (as well as that
of a lot of companies I talk with, including some of the Big Four distro
makers), that's a situation where too much experimentation is indeed
harmful, and it could be curtailed just a little and still allow tremendous
room for competition, experimentation, and the continued evolution of Linux.
But I'm drifting off topic here.

If this is OSI's stance on this licensing issue, then it's their decision
and I respect it.  I'll shut up now, and go back to waiting for the license
I submitted (Open Compatibility License) to be discussed.

Take care,
Lou Grinzo

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