An explanation of the difficulty of solving license proliferation in one sentence

Adriano Galano adriano at
Wed Mar 9 18:06:11 UTC 2005

Hey guys:

Why not stop your "road to no way" discusssion?

Why not began a public survey/consultation to the FLOSS 
community about what they want (corporates and individual 

Best regards,

On Wed, 9 Mar 2005 12:40:59 -0500
  "David Dillard" <david.dillard at> wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Forrest J. Cavalier III 
>>[mailto:mibsoft at] 
>> Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2005 12:30 PM
>> To: Open Source License Discussion List
>> Cc: Forrest J. Cavalier III
>> Subject: Re: An explanation of the difficulty of solving 
>> license proliferation in one sentence
>> > Software that meets the Open Source Definition is Open 
>>Source. OSI 
>> > should do its job and certify it.
>> Agreed.  If the OSI wants to change its definition of 
>> job, then someone else will spring up to safeguard the 
>> I've been patiently waiting for Nelson, Fink, and 
>>Raymond to 
>> come to their senses this week.
>> Hasn't happened.  So here's a cluestick.
>> If fewer and compatible licenses are needed in order to 
>> the big corporate interests easy picking, then it is 
>>kind of 
>> hard to hold a middle ground: Everyone must accept the 
>> It wins by sheer numbers.
>"Fewer" does not mean "one."
>> If that is unacceptable, then someone pushing for this 
>> be kind to present a rational argument for allowing 
>> licenses to exist that also excludes new licenses.
>> Licenses exist to serve the needs of the SOFTWARE 
>> Since there are many, many more small organizations 
>> software, they deserve preference.  Licenses are not, 
>> should not be, written primarily to conform to the needs 
>> the licensees,
>Primarily?  No.  But if open source authors want their 
>software to be
>adopted by as wide an audience as possible, they SHOULD 
>carefully choose
>the license they use.
>> and especially not primarily to the needs of 
>> big corporate licensees so that "more big corps get on 
>> open-source software."
>Are you against making ANY changes to help corporations 
>use open source?
>If so, why?
>> If a project wants to use a license that is not well 
>> and not compatible with other licenses, then yes, they 
>> be gently reminded of that at license submission, but 
>> must remain free to do that and take the consequences of 
>> incompatibility.
>> Why should they care if their OSD-compliant vanity 
>> conflicts with all of HP's open source IP?  They should 
>> by natural consequences, not artificial ones. They have 
>> incentive enough to create compatible IP, without the 
>> deciding FOR THEM.
>> Make no mistake, these 3 principles are not about 
>> OSI workload, it is a method that LICENSEES are 
>>attempting to 
>> force artificial consequences onto authors who desire to 
>> release OSS software under licenses incompatible with 
>> someone's "approved list."
>It's not about "forcing," it's about "asking."  There's 
>no way for a
>licensee to force a licensor to change their license.
>Open Source is supposed to be community.  People in a 
>cooperate, that's what makes it a community.
>> That someone wants to create artificial consequences is 
>> one of the opening salvos in the next OSS war: locking 
>> everything into a few licenses using patent grants and 
>> termination clauses.
>> That will play out in our lifetimes, but it seems that 
>>HP et 
>> al can't wait and want to shoehorn projects into a 
>> subset of licenses now.
>> I predict that if OSI makes the 3 new conditions part of 
>> license approval, it will soon lose its power to 
>> opinion of those who really matter: AUTHORS who are 
>> philosophically aligned with the OSD.  Some other 
>> organization will spring up to guard the OSD which is 
>> "serving two masters."
>> Actually, I don't even know why I'm writing.  I'm not at 
>> concerned about this gambit.  At worst, the OSI will 
>> marginalize itself, again.
>> It still irks me that the people who formed the OSI 
>> bungled (and still bungle) the branding strategy that 
>> going to be important to increase FLOSS acceptance 
>> commercially.  Tis a pity.  How many years did it take 
>>to get 
>> a logo?  Who's enforcing its application now?
>> Does Raymond still think he is doing all the pushing 
>> commercial OSS acceptance?  High profile stories like 
>>SCO vs 
>> IBM, GNU/Linux, Firefox, and OpenOffice have done way 
>> than the OSI's non-attempts like high profile open 
>>source branding.
>> These 3 "making it simpler for suits" principles are not 
>> going to help as intended either.  (Oh, something will 
>> CHANGE, but that isn't the same as HELP."

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