Three new proposed OSD terms

Andrew Aitken andrew at
Thu Mar 3 19:38:12 UTC 2005

I haven't been on this list long so if I don't have the whole context of this issue please forgive me.

Although reducing license proliferation is certainly a necessary goal(IMHO), basing it upon one organization's inefficiencies is not a good enough rationale. On the other side, there is a large North American financial institution that has managed an internal open source software approval process with over 2,000 requests in the last two years, with less than a 2% rejection rate, with 4 part-time people. So today's license problem can be addressed by businesses.

A better rationale to use may be to ask ourselves if the continued development and usage of quality open source code (for community only, or commercial purposes) is better served by focusing on:
1) reducing license proliferation
2) providing clarity to the existing licenses 

I like the suggestion earlier, by Brian I believe, of a recommended set of licenses, maybe providing use cases to help in the decision-making process, and also in effect providing a license taxonomy that will help people understand their current license options and the implications of selecting certain licenses.

Andrew Aitken
Olliance Group

Original Message:
From: Bjorn Reese <breese at>
To: license-discuss at
Date: Thursday, March 3 2005 10:28
Subject: Re: Three new proposed OSD terms
Russell Nelson wrote:

>  > On Wed, 2005-03-02 at 08:11 -0800, Joel West wrote:

>  > > NY Times: Mr. Nelson, what does the open source movement stand for?"
>  > > Nelson: "We stand for free access to source code, and non-duplicative licenses".
> That's what OSDL wants us to stand for.  It's not as ridiculous an
> idea as you mean it to sound.

But it is exactly as ridiculous an idea as Joel indicated.

> Not true.  Martin Fink has a problem at HP.  He can only deploy
> software if HP's IT department has approved the license.  Every new
> license makes his job that much harder.  He's understandably upset
> that an organization he has no control over (OSI) is making his life
> harder.  I don't blame him for being unhappy; I just wish that he had

I am sorry to hear that internal processes at HP is creating extra
work for Martin Fink, but he seems to have lost perspective. In the
long run HP saves development time for each open source software that
they use. Given that the only "payment" that the open source author
asks is the adherence to the licensing conditions, I think that
Martin Fink's expectations are unfair.

Instead, he should be happy that people out there are developing
quality software that he can use without having to pay for the
development and maintenance.

I have great difficulty accepting the workload of Martin Fink as
a valid argument in favor of non-duplicative licenses, whether it
is part of the OSD or the administrative process.

PS: I am in the same situation as Martin Fink with regards to having
to obtain legal clearance before I can use open source software in
commercial environments, but I have no problem with that.

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