Backlog assistance?

Greg London greglondon at
Sat Sep 22 21:17:34 UTC 2001

Alex Stewart wrote:
> If the point is to provide a
> few good, clear-cut licenses 
> for people to choose from, that's one
> thing, and suggests the OSI should be very picky.  
> If the goal is to encourage open-source licensing
> terms amongst the software community,
> that's very different, and suggests that the OSI
> should (try to) encourage (and thus certify) 
> anything that meats the open-source requirements.

IANAL, but simply from a development point of view,
OSI does not appear to be taking advantage of some
of open-source's best feature: patches and evolution

currently, all OSI certified licenses are "One-Off"
applications, written from scratch, no reuse, 
no inheritance, no nothing. And their speed at which
the approve licenses seems to be in line with that
of an organization who is testing multiple, and
completely independent, applications. 

And verification is basically what OSI does, except
it's in a legal manner versus software manner.
The OSD is the spec, everyone sends in their
personal interpretation of that spec, and then 
OSI has to verify the license completely meets the spec.

in order to make it easier to create your own license,
perhaps someone could come up with a minimum "code base"
and people could add to it.

The OSD has 11(?) requirements.
how hard would it be to come up with a minimal license
that defines these requirements. THen if you want to 
create your own license, you inherit the minimal license
and add to it.

Copyright law only grants so many rights to the author,
(something like copy, modify, distribute, display,
public perform, but this is from vague memory)
And there are only so many variations of things you
can do with these rights and still be considered
open source. 

And some are tied directly into the OSD itself
copy and distribute are guaranteed.
And either Modify or distribute with patches
must be included as well.

The biggest one seems to be that if yuo modify
and redistribute, that new distribution must
be under the same license as the original,
to prevent code hijacking.

could it be possible (and more importantly, of value)
for OSI (or someone) to develop a "license developers
kit" which includes a base-line license, and possibly,
additional items from which people can select.
throw in a good No Warranty clause.
give a selection of what country's laws
any disputes will be settled in.

People could use that as a base license, 
select the required alternations,
and then add an addendum area
where they put their specific licensing
requirements. (GPL could put it's political
rant in it's ammendment section, for example)

And the base-line license could
say that whenever the ammendments conflict with the
base license, the base license wins (or whatever 
the legal term is).

Which should then prevent people from hijacking
the base-license. And license incompatibilities
with one another should be minimized.

It would also create some unity among different
variations of licenses. Currently, if the GPL
were attacked legally, the people who use the
Artistic License would have little at stake.
but if a number of different groups use the same
base-license, and the base license is legally
attacked, there would advantage for a combined
legal defense from all users of the base-license.

and more importantly (benificially), OSI wouldn't 
have to manually approve every variation under the sun.

This would allow OSI to gain the same benifits
that open-source software has, and apply them 
to licensing development and approval.

just a thought.
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