Inappropriate postings from non-lawyers

Alex Rousskov rousskov at
Fri Feb 13 20:54:06 UTC 2004

> Look, folks the entire purpose of a license of any kind is to have
> something to present to a judge in case something goes wrong, and to
> clarify what rights are transferred to the end user.

... and since the user is often not a lawyer, those who write licenses
should try to strike a balance between users needs and legal needs.
For example, open source software with new 100 page legal license
attached has fewer chances succeeding in real world, no matter how
many lawyers are happy about that license. I see a partial value of
this mailing list in educating submitters what their primary user
audience wants.

> The true test of a license (for open source work in a business) is
> what happens in court and in business negotiations.

IMO, that's not the only test. The success or failure of a license is
often tied to success or failure of the software that uses it. Open
Source license is much more than a piece of legal text for courts. It
has the power to attract or scare large number of users. If the
submitter is serious about open source (and not just doing marketing),
they should try to be friendly to as many open source users as
possible, given other important factors.

NASA license, for example, is not user-friendly at all, IMO. I am sure
US Goverment has the resources to come up with a better license (while
preserving the necessary level of protection). Hopefully, the
discussion on this list will help them to do that.

> If us non-lawyers defer to lawyers and listen more we may have more
> lawyers providing constructive input.

There needs to be a balance, IMO. Perhaps OSI should moderate this


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