License Committee Report for September 2005

Chuck Swiger chuck at
Fri Sep 9 04:00:31 UTC 2005

"Radcliffe, Mark" <Mark.Radcliffe at> wrote:
> Eric S. Raymond <esr at> wrote:
>> Russell Nelson <nelson at> wrote:
>>>   o The board needs to revisit the three license criteria it added
>>>     some months ago.
[ posting re-ordered... ]
>> The license-discuss membership doesn't make policy.  The Board does.
>> Those criteria were approved after due deliberation by the Board for
>> good strategic reasons.  Anyone who is unwilling to apply them may
>> recuse him or herself from the process.
> I agree with Eric. While we need to be sensitive to the concerns
> expressed by members of the community, the OSI board must make these
> decisions. We have done so and should follow the decision until we
> decide that it is incorrect.

Thanks for these comments, gentlemen; I was hoping that other members of the 
OSI board would respond to this topic.  True, the OSI board is under no 
obligation to heed the opinions of members of the license-discuss mailing list: 
the most popular opinion is not always correct nor does it always produce the 
best result.

However, when the larger community reaches a clear and nearly universal 
consensus on an issue, any subgroup which disagrees has chosen to not be 
representative of the community as a whole.

(Speaking of which, is it necessary to keep drawing dividing lines between the 
people who are on the board and those who are not?  If those who are on the 
board tried to use the word "we" to mean "we as in everybody" rather than just 
"we" meaning "those people on the OSI board", the result might be beneficial.)

Anyway, I fully support the notion that an individual, or a group of people 
such as the OSI board, should make their own decisions, set their own policies, 
and take responsibility for their own actions.  In particular, the OSI board 
has chosen to be responsible for the "OSI Certified Open Source" trademark, and 
has published a policy and procedure for license approval at:

If the three criteria Russell mentioned are part of the approval process that 
the OSI board actually follows today, then those criteria need to be made part 
of the OSD or the "Getting a License Approved" section of this page.


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