For Approval: NASA Open Source Agreement Version 1.1
rschi at rsmba.biz
Fri Feb 13 08:05:08 UTC 2004
On 2004.02.12 20:42 Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
> Richard Schilling <rschi at rsmba.biz> writes:
> > > Such provisions are not allowed in an open source license.
> > > requirements are viewed as unreasonable limitations on the rights
> > > licensees to do anything they want internally with open source
> > Biggest problem of all here - who in all of creation has the
> > on blessing open source licenses?
> Huh? The point of this mailing list is to advise OSI on blessing open
> source licenses. You don't have to believe that OSI's blessing has
> any value. But there isn't much point to joining this mailing list if
> you reject the whole concept of OSI blessing a license.
I'm just saying that a stance that NASA, a US government agency with
"deep pockets", should remove imdenification wording is a haneous
idea. And in general bashing the license on non-licensing issues
doesn't do any good. It actually hurts open source license
development. It's just my opinion.
The OSI can do what it wants. My preference is to see all discussions
the OSI endorses regarding licenses be done in the context of
legitimate legal analysis (which is done by lawyers) and well trained
It's one thing if someone asks why a part of a license is important,
and then tries to apply the answer to some licensing goal. It's quite
another if we just blast away at a new license on uninformed and
> > I maintain that an open source license has certain characteristics
> > achieves some well defined goals - the primary one being quick, open
> > distribution or source code and documentation to the end user
> > charging a license fee. It is entirely unappropriate to specify
> > belongs and doesn't belong in an open source license. Either the
> > license achieves it's own goals or it doesn't.
> OSI will only bless licenses that meet the Open Source Definition:
Absoutely. No argument there. They should. The NASA license,
however, presents a unique opportunity for opensource.org. The
organization can look at the language and concerns the license
addresses and use that as an acid test to see if their criteria needs
revising (a good standards body does that - and I have the impression
opensource.org has several licenses written by industry leaders like
Sun, IBM, MIT, and others who have a lot of experience writing great
open source licenses. The NASA license is a wonderful opportunity to
add a US government agency's license to that list. When opensource.org
puts all of them side by side and study what makes them unique, but
still qualify as open source, then opensource.org has advanced the
state of open source licensing.
> Lawrence is correctly saying that if the NASA license requires
> tracking of released software, that license does not conform to the
> OSD, and therefore the OSI should not bless it.
I believe that is a misguided concept in open source licensing that
some hold to. Tracking the use of a product does not make a license
non-open source. Open Source licensing deals with accessibility and
cost, but tracking, per se, is not even relevant to that
characteristic. In fact, tracking the uses of open source is a *key*
marketing tool and the only way we can judge if an investment of time
into open source is paying off, is it not?
> That would not mean that the license is a bad license. It would
> merely mean that software released under the license is not OSI
> Certified Open Source Software.
right. See, that's objective - what you just said.
I got the sense from the original poster overtones of "big bad big
brother." Too much work goes into these licenses to take the
conversation in that direction - I felt the need to call him on it, and
I hope I called everyone making similar arguments on that point.
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