FW: Should the three new criteria be in the OSD?

David Dillard david.dillard at veritas.com
Sun Mar 6 16:37:48 UTC 2005

Reply inline below:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Andy Tai [mailto:lichengtai at yahoo.com] 
> Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2005 10:37 AM
> To: license-discuss at opensource.org
> Subject: Re: FW: Should the three new criteria be in the OSD?
> While reducing the number of licenses out there is a worthy 
> goal, the people at companies jumping into Free 
> Software/Software Libre shall not behave in the manner in a 
> typical corporate environment, trying to use the OSI as a 
> tool to get what you want.  Free Software/Software Libre is 
> more about the hackers, the people working as individuals 
> rather than corporations.

Interesting, I've always thought that Free Software was more about the
user of the software and even the software itself than the creator of
the software.  Looking at the OSD, nine of the ten clauses seem to deal
with the user of the software.  Three or four clauses seem to deal with
the software itself while only one clause seems to deal with the creator
of the software.

>  Business models, profits, 
> deployment in the IT Department, etc. are all secondary.

Businesses are users of Free Software.  Making it easier for users of
Free Software to use that software, while not sacrificing any core
values, would seem to be a very good thing for Free Software.  For the
OSI to actively work to reduce the number of licenses in use,
particularly those that are commonly used, benefits *all* responsible
users of Free Software, not only businesses.  And I see no sacrifice of
core values for the OSI to work towards such a goal.  Do you?

I think the issue boils down to this: Does the OSI want to promote
*everything* that falls under the definition of Free Software?  Or does
the OSI want to promote an easier to use subset of Free Software?  Does
the OSI want to focus on merely defining what Free Software is or does
it want to promote Free Software?

Admittedly, reading the OSI home page it seems to indicate that the
mission of the OSI is to promote all things Open Source.  Perhaps the
OSI needs to refine its mission somewhat.

> Free Software/Open Source will succeed because it allows 
> direct interaction between users and producers of software, 
> advancing information science by making end users involved in 
> the production process. 

Free Software *HAS* succeeded and will continue to succeed for many
reasons.  The interaction you mention is but one of those reasons.

> Business needs and models cannot be the rationals for 
> modifying what originally was the commitment to the world by 
> a group of hackers (Debian) or the standards by which the 
> success of Free Software/Open Source is measured.  

Again, businesses are users and it seems to me that Free Sofware exists
primarily for the users.  Please don't let an anti-business bias keep
you from doing what's right for all users.

More information about the License-discuss mailing list