Three new proposed OSD terms

Ernest Prabhakar prabhaka at
Fri Mar 4 18:43:35 UTC 2005

On Mar 4, 2005, at 5:16 AM, Evan Prodromou wrote:

> On Fri, 2005-04-03 at 05:38 -0500, Robin 'Roblimo' Miller wrote:
>> 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.
> I think you missed the third big reason: branding. Many of the big
> companies that have Open Sourced works in the last few years have done
> so for the good publicity involved. Having a house-brand license helps
> with that quite a bit.

In a slightly less cynical vein, I think there is a fourth category of 
license submissions worth considering. That is licenses that are in 
"existing use", and not controlled a single entity capable of 
relicensing it under an already approved licenses.   These are either 
legacy licenses (like OpenSSH), or consortiums (like some the edu stuff 
I'd seen float around).

I'm not happy about these situations, but I sympathize with them: they 
may want to change, but they are organizationally incapable of it.  If 
their license really meets the OSD, I think they need and deserve 
certification -- even if only on some 'deprecated' list.   We need to 
remember that OSD certification carries a certain (justified) 
connotation of "reasonable member of the open source community" from a 
-user- perspective.  Just because we want to streamline things from a 
*licensor* perspective (as important as that is) doesn't negate the 
obligation to fairly brand things for users.

If we conflate "reasonable for consumers to use" with "reasonable for 
licensors to consider", we risk unfairly tarnishing some deserving 

-- Ernie P.

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