License Committee Report for September 2005

Russell Nelson nelson at
Fri Sep 9 05:57:31 UTC 2005

Ben Tilly writes:
 > On 9/8/05, Eric S. Raymond <esr at> wrote:
 > > Russell Nelson <nelson at>:
 > [...]
 > > >   o The board needs to revisit the three license criteria it added
 > > >     some months ago.  I have tried to apply those criteria to the OVPL,
 > > >     and not had any support.  The license-discuss membership has spoken
 > > >     loudly and clearly that we should approve all licenses that comply
 > > >     with the OSD.  Thus, we should withdraw those criteria and if we're
 > > >     serious about them, set about modifying the Open Source Definition.
 > > 
 > > 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.
 > Do you realize how strongly you've confirmed any qualms that people
 > might have about the way that the OSI is run?

Sorry, Ben, but you're being a silly Tilly here.  Eric is just
pointing out that the current policy is the current policy and that
it's published and people would, could, and should expect it to be
applied.  To *not* follow the published policy would be a mistake.

Now, if the policy is wrong, that's another matter.

The current difficulty is simply this:  I say that "readable" means
"readable in context with other licenses; that is, if you make a
derivative work from another license, you minimize the changes."  Alex
Bligh says that "readable" means that the license *itself* should be
readable even if it has to make changes with no legal import.

Obviously, *I* think I'm right, but I think that both of our
interpretations are reasonable.  Since there's ambiguity, we need to
go back to the board to get it resolved.

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