Should the three new criteria be in the OSD?

Joel West svosrp at
Sat Mar 5 09:46:47 UTC 2005

On 1:29 AM -0800 3/5/05, Mitchell Baker doth scribe:
>The issue with this proposal is that OSDL represents the big companies.  Open Source licenses need to be of interest to the programmers as well, or there won't nearly so much open source software created.  I hope very much that OSI does *not* defer to OSDL on this issue.  I've always viewed OSI as representing the voice of the open source programming community.

I never meant to suggest that OSI should defer to OSDL.

But since people are complaining about what they (pejoratively) call "vanity" licenses, and most of those vanity license are coming from big organizations, getting the big organizations onto the same page would cut down on the proliferation.

As someone who once ran a small company, I can tell you I'm not going to spend $10K in legal fees to craft a new license and several months of my time to get it through OSI unless there's a d**n good reason. I want to spend my time shipping software and paying the bills. So instead, I'm likely to choose from among the set provided by the OSI, drafted mostly by big companies and, in a few cases, by Evan, Larry or Mitchell.

There's no reason why the OSDL gets a say in what the OSI "gold" standard is. But certainly if the OSDL members aligned behind a small number of licenses, that would reduce the OSI's need to arbitrate between these companies or decide which of the big company licenses is actually most suitable for a broad range of situations.

Last time I checked, Richard Stallman hasn't joined OSDL. But there isn't any scenario under which (even discounting for SourceForge deadware) that the GPL and LGPL fail to make the cut.


Joel West, Research Director
Silicon Valley Open Source Research Project

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