Three new proposed OSD terms

Robin 'Roblimo' Miller robin at
Fri Mar 4 10:38:45 UTC 2005

>The only good reason to advocate for more OSI approved licenses is
>when existing ones do not meet your needs.

After monitoring this list for 3+ years I see two main reasons for new 
license applications:

1) Our lawyers need to justify their existence.

2) We want have all those open source developers work for us free but 
still maintain control over the software, so we're going to float a 
license proposal that looks like open source but really isn't, and hope 
y'all don't notice what we're trying to pull, heh, heh, heh.

> a license
>maze[1] is harsher on both software users and software producers.
>Michael Poole
>[1] You are in a maze of twisty little MPL derivatives, all alike.

It's gotten like San Francisco radical groups in the late 60s, where the 
Enlightened Maoist Movement and the Maoist Enlightenment Movement spent 
more time sniping at each other than  doing anything useful: "Oh, we're 
free software, not open source. Don't associate our movement with those 
sellouts," and, "Oh, you free software people are too radical; open 
source is the key to widespread adoption." And so on.

Then come the other trivialities... the RANDS and linking clauses and 
sub-clauses and so on.

Sure, they're all world-burning important. But the world is tuning out. 
A NewsForge article about software licensing or software patents two 
years ago would draw 20,000 - 40,000 readers and might lead to a 
Slashdot discussion with 500 comments, of which 150 were substantive. 
Now, although FOSS is more widely used, the readership of 
licensing-related articles is typically less than 5000 (with rare 
exceptions), and Slashdot discussions on the topic are both smaller and 
less substantive.

I can't give you figures for other tech news sites, but I can tell you 
that, from what I read on IT journalism email lists, reportorial 
interest in software licensing issues is dropping steadily.

One of the promises of FOSS, from the user perspective, was that it 
would free us from the hassles and "gotchas" in proprietary software 
EULAs. With all these not-quite-the-same licenses and the silly "based 
on open source" proprietary software marketing claims we're starting to 
see, I think the two major OSI tasks should be simplification and 
enforcement (via canny publicity), essentially making sure the line in 
the sand between open and not-open is clearly-drawn and visible to all.

I'll crawl back under my rock now.

Robin 'Roblimo' Miller
Editor in Chief, OSTG

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