License Proliferation

Chris Zumbrunn chris at
Fri Sep 2 06:43:34 UTC 2005

On Sep 2, 2005, at 5:19 AM, Russell Nelson wrote:

>   Does OSI certify all licenses that comply with the OSD?
> or
>   Does OSI certify all good licenses that comply with the OSD?
> In other words, do we take into account the interests of the
> community?  Or do we act as a conditional rubber stamp -- conditional
> *only* upon compliance with the OSD?
> I suggest that the answer is not obvious.  It's not obvious what the
> right answer is, and it's not obvious what the community wants us to
> do.  Ian Lance Taylor was complaining earlier that we don't ask people
> questions.  Presumably, now that I'm asking, he'll have an opinion.

I'd say, the OSI approves all licenses that comply with the OSD, but
for a license to comply with the OSD, it needs to be good :-)

In other words, the OSI needs to interpret the OSD in the interest of 
community and continue to refine and revise the wording to reflect that
moving target.

For example, if the OVPL is rejected based on being discriminatory due
to its asymmetry then the OSD's wording should be improved to be
more explicit regarding this criteria. Likewise, if the OVPL is 
since that license just happens to be right on the edge of the current
OSD wording.

This would also be the best criteria for license tiering. 1) Licenses 
meet the current OSD. 2) Licenses that have been approved but do no
longer meet the revised OSD and would not be approved today. Let the
market do the rest.

Stewards of licenses that slip into 2) can always submit a revised 
that meets the current OSD if they like, or stay proud of their old 
and their place in open source history. What's wrong with that?


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