License Committee report

Zooko O'Whielacronx zooko at
Wed Feb 18 01:43:08 UTC 2004

> This must surely be the shortest open source license ever!  Still, we
> should send it back to the author because he uses the hated word
> "utilize".  Don't use utilize!  Utilize "use" instead.  Means the same
> thing and avoids a phony formality.
> Title: Fair License
> Submission: 
>   Original:
>   Revised:
> Comments: none
> Recommend: remanding.
> This license is intended to have the same legal effect as the MIT
> license, only be simpler to read.  Thanks, but that doesn't make it an
> improvement.  We will approve it if the author simply insists, but we
> officially discourage the proliferation of substantially similar licenses.
> Title: Simple Permissive License
> Submission:
> License:
> Comments:
>   Ian Lance Taylor:
> Recommend: disapproval.

So if I understand correctly, the Simple Permissive License and the (ideally 
edited) Fair License both pass the litmus test of OSD.  In addition to approving 
licenses which meet the OSD, the OSI also prefers to slow the proliferation of 
substantially similar licenses, and is therefore loathe to approve the Simple 
Permissive License.  Finally, it seems that brevity in a license is not valued, 
or else that the value of brevity is outside the scope of the approval process.

One thing I don't understand is if the Fair License would satisfy the goals of 
the Simple Permissive License while being even shorter.  Personally, I'm a bit 
uncertain about the Fair License, perhaps because I have no legal training and 
I am already familiar with the MIT (-original) license.

Does the Fair License require the software developer who uses such licensed 
source code to inform his users (i.e. at runtime or in documentation) about the 
existence of the Fair License?

Another thing I don't understand is if the "let's not proliferate substantially 
similar licenses" reasoning should not also apply to the approval of the Fair 

I will not presume to "insist" that OSI approve the Simple Permissive License.


Bryce "Zooko" Wilcox-O'Hearn

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