Three new proposed OSD terms

Brian Behlendorf brian at
Thu Mar 3 18:03:11 UTC 2005

On Wed, 2 Mar 2005, Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
> In fact, I would another point, along the lines of:
>    *The license must not be detrimental to the open source
>    community.* If in the judgement of OSI approving the license would
>    harm the open source community, OSI may deny certification.

I think this, and two of the other three proposed OSD terms, are the wrong 
direction.  Certification should not be so subjective - it will only lead 
to long, drawn out arguments over whether something is detrimental or not, 
or duplicative or not, and make it difficult to defend a decision as more 
than a value judgement.  If we're defaulting to the value judgements of 
the OSI board or of the people here at license-discuss, we're much much 
closer to the peasants-with-pitchforks Robespierre-esque mis-ideal that 
our enemies love to malign us as.

I think OSI should leave the certification criteria as they are - even 
consider taking a fresh look at the existing ones to ask if they're 
needed.  I think OSI could very well create a gold standard list of 
licenses that meet additional criteria and are "recommended".  It might 
take some effort to properly template-ize them, and to provide a chart 
showing which licenses allow sublicensing under which other licenses.  It 
might even be useful to attempt to provide standard language for certain 
upcoming requirements, like patent defense clauses.  All of which is more 
work than just inventing a few new rules, admittedly.


More information about the License-discuss mailing list