License Committee Report for September 2005

Eric S. Raymond esr at
Fri Sep 9 06:26:43 UTC 2005

Ben Tilly <btilly at>:
> Do you realize how strongly you've confirmed any qualms that people
> might have about the way that the OSI is run?

The only justification OSI wants or needs for the way we choose to run
things is that we provide a service that a lot of people trust and
value.  There is absolutely nothing to stop you from starting your own
license-certification organization and running it any way you like.  If
you provide comparable value, maybe people will listen to you, too.

Should you choose to start your own competing organization, one of the
things you will discover is that there has to be some place where the
buck stops and difficult -- occasionally unpopular -- decisions get
made.  You will also discover that some people will get "qualms" about
the way your organization makes those decisions -- no matter what that
decision procedure is.

And you will discover that there is a point beyond which you just have
to stick to the procedures that have actually worked and ignore the
qualms, because otherwise you can't get the job done for which people
are relying on you.

The OSI Board makes policy.  The license-discuss list advises the Board, 
and I promise you we do listen very carefully.  But when we have 
made a policy decision, your responsibility is to either assist us in 
implementing it or recuse yourself from the process.

You knew or should have known those rules when you walked in.  They've
worked well for us and (more importantly) for the community we serve,
and we will therefore continue to use them.  If that makes you
unhappy, then please do start your own certification organization run
on radically different lines.

I predict you'll find it a wonderfully educational experience.
		<a href="">Eric S. Raymond</a>

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