Three new proposed OSD terms

Ken Sedgwick ken at
Wed Mar 2 16:52:53 UTC 2005

Russell Nelson wrote:
> We have always pushed people in this direction, but by adding these
> terms to the OSD, we will be proactively refusing licenses which don't
> meet these requirements.
> 11. *The license must not be duplicative.*  That is, it is up to the 
>     submitter to demonstrate that the license solves a problem not 
>     sufficiently addressed by an existing certified license.  Certification 
>     may be denied to any submitted license, even a technically OSD-
>     conformant license, if OSI deems it duplicative.
> 13. *The license must be reusable*.  If the license contains proper
>     names of individuals, associations, or projects, these must be
>     incorporated by reference from an attachment that declares the
>     names of the issuer and any other cited parties, and which can be
>     modified without changing the terms of the license.  As the sole
>     exception, the license may name its owner and steward.

The reusability and non-duplicative requirements seem like a good idea 
when applied to new licenses.

How should they apply to existing licenses which have received 
significant contribution from the community over many years?

I guess I'm not very clear on how difficult it is to amend, replace or 
augment an existing license; my impression is that it is quite 
difficult.  Didn't the Mozilla project have to find every contributor at 
some point to make a license change?

If it is difficult to make such changes, should long-standing 
open-source licenses be denied OSI certification merely because they are 
duplicative or contain proper names?


Ken Sedgwick
Bonsai Software, Inc.
(510) 610-4162
ken+5a4 at
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