Policy Questions (WAS: License Committee Report)
prabhaka at apple.com
Fri Sep 9 17:35:33 UTC 2005
I realize this is a difficult situation, and I appreciate that you
and the rest of the Board are doing your best under trying
circumstances. Let me try to summarize where I think the real
On Sep 9, 2005, at 9:13 AM, Russell Nelson wrote:
> you're still wrong about "Someone changed the rules."
> OSI has always done exactly what Eric describes. If you want to
> maintain that we changed the rules about how OSI operates, then you
> should explain what you thought the rules were previously, and what
> you thought the rules were changed to.
Speaking only for myself:
*MY* impression was the license-discuss list is and was *only*
concerned with the 10 criteria in the OSD. I did NOT get a clear
statement that *those* rules had changed. That may well have been
your intent, but as far as I can tell it was *not* communicated to
*this list* how *our* job had changed. I knew *something* changed,
but I didn't know what. When I asked, I appeared to get the
*opposite* answer to what you're giving me now. Hence, my confusion.
If there is an email in the archive where you lay out the
implications of the new official policy for this list, I will happily
call myself an idiot and shut up. But if not, then I think the Board
needs to accept *some* responsibility for leaving us to *infer* our
role based on the public statements, rather than being explicit.
I'm not blaming you for this -- communication is *hard*, and it is
easy to make incorrect assumptions that cause confusion. However, I
*am* asking the Board to take responsibility for the oversight -- and
fix it! -- rather than just blaming *us* for not being smart enough
to deduce the dramatic shift in what was expected of *this* list
based on the new license-proliferation policy.
> I agree with what Eric says. The perspective from the hot seat is
> completely different. No matter what you do, people complain. It's
> like Linus said in 1996: you have to just use your 'd' key. In order
> to function in a position of leadership, you have to be willing to
> tolerate some unhappiness with your decisions. Doesn't mean you
> *ignore* it, but you have to accept it.
I *completely* sympathize. Apple, as you know, is famous for making
controversial decisions. :-). I don't think anybody is disputing the
*right* of the OSI Board to make the decisions it believes are
necessary -- and if they are, they're wrong.
However, I believe that right carries with it certain
responsibilities. In particular, I believe OSI has an obligation to
definitively answer the following questions that this list is
a) Is it in fact official OSI Policy that it is the job of *license-
discuss* to evaluate licenses against *all 13 clauses* -- including
the three that are not in the OSD? If so, where is that explicitly
stated? If not so stated, will you please make that completely clear
to the casual observer, so we know where we stand? Or do you only
want license-discuss members who can piece together their job
description on their own?
I will submit to your right to decide as long as the OSI accepts it's
responsibility to educate people about the implications of that
decision. Fair enough?
And perhaps more importantly:
b) If we think that policy is a bad idea, what should we do? I feel
like I've heard at least three different perspectives on that from
i) Give us feedback here in a civil and constructive manner, and we
will give it due consideration
ii) Please give us feedback in a *different* forum, as that is
beyond the scope of this list
iii) Shut and go away. This decision is now final, and no longer
open to question.
Which, if any, is the official, final OSI policy? If none of the
above, then what is it?
I am not being facetious or rhetorical -- I myself have implemented
all three options during my career, as circumstances warrant; none
are inherently wrong (thought they may be unwise on occasion). I
just want to know where the OSI Board stands, so I can make an
appropriate decision regarding my own involvement.
Call me stupid if you want, but I honestly don't know what the OSI's
actual position is on this. And I would like to.
I look forward to clarification -- including whether you are speaking
of your personal perspective, or officially on behalf of the entire
OSI board. And whether that statement is itself final, or open to
-- Ernie P.
This is not a legal opinion. This is not Apple's opinion. This is my
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