License backlog - OSI is making itself irrellevant

M. Drew Streib dtype at
Sun Sep 2 17:51:10 UTC 2001

On Fri, Aug 31, 2001 at 02:14:55PM +0100, 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.

I didn't want to enter this conversation, but feel I have to say something
for SourceForge at this point...

I was a part of the original decision to require projects to be licensed
under an OSI-approved license. This seemed a pragmatic approach, and
one that made a nice clear line.

Of course, we ran into projects that wanted to use licenses that met the
definition but weren't yet approved, and ones that 'almost' met the 
definition, but didn't or couldn't for one reason for another. We
began the practice of looking at these on a case-by-case basis for
good faith, sticking to the OSI definition for about all of these cases.

I'd like to note that there are sort of three categories of licenses that
we care about:
* Ones that are OSI approved
* Ones that meet the OSI definition (and DFSG/FSG for that matter)
* Ones that don't, and won't

The first two are acceptable. One doesn't have to be 'OSI-approved' to
meet the definition, and I personally believe that the approval isn't
a completely necessary step to feel good about a license under which
you have released software, although it is great validation. 

We do _not_ intend to be a validation for 'Open Source', but are rather
trying to apply strict guidelines for projects hosted on


M. Drew Streib <dtype at> |
FSG <dtype at>    | Linux International <dtype at>
freedb <dtype at>        | SourceForge <dtype at>
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