Policy Questions (WAS: License Committee Report)

Ernest Prabhakar prabhaka at apple.com
Mon Sep 12 18:18:54 UTC 2005

Hi Eric,

On Sep 9, 2005, at 11:27 AM, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
> You are correct to criticize us for not having been sufficiently  
> explicit.
> That was the Board's error, for which I apologize on behalf on the  
> Board.
> I am certain the other Board members will concur in this.

Thank you. Apology accepted. :-)

>> 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?
> Eminently fair.  I am certain the Board as a whole will concur.
> If your position is that OSI acted legitimately in setting the
> criteria but the criteria are broken, then we want to know why and how
> to fix it.  However, we have a concern that extended back-and-forth on
> license-discuss itself will crowd out the actual mission of the list,
> which is to
> 1) advise the Board *before* policy decisions are made
> 2) *implement* the policy decisions after they are made
> Note that "Disputing policy decisions after they have been made" is
> not on this list.
> My own preference in this situation would be for the license-discuss
> members who believe the criteria are broken to put together a  
> statement
> of position and recommendations for action, off-list, and then have
> a representative (perhaps yourself) present it to the Board directly
> on the Board list.

Thanks for your gracious, frank, and honest reply.  It -- along with  
similar replies by other OSI members -- does much to restore my faith  
in this organization, which I believe plays a vital role in our  

The question is, what next?As seems increasingly clear, we do not  
even *know* what the actual criteria are, and how they are supposed  
to be implemented, so it is difficult to formulate a coherent critique.

I would like to propose that the OSI begin an open dialogue on the  
"license-proliferation-discuss" list about the optimal a) phrasing,  
and b) implementation of the three additional criteria.  It should  
start with a concise summary of the board's best understanding of the  
Three Criteria, including how they are to be implemented, and provide  
a safe and appropriate place for honest questions and constructive  
feedback.   That way, those who care about *policy* questions can  
discuss them there, leaving this list free to focus specifically on  
license approval issues (as at least some of the original subscribers  
here had hoped).

Does that sound reasonable? If so, I would also request that the OSI  
board appoint someone to act as official spokesperson for the board  
during the discussion, so we know who's in charge.   I would also  
suggest having an official moderator (potentially someone NOT on the  
board) to ensure things stay on track.

Mistakes happen; I don't really care whose fault it is that the right  
things were not done in the past. I just want to know who's  
responsible for making the right things happen in the future.

- Ernie P.
Speaking for myself.

More information about the License-discuss mailing list