License Proliferation (WAS: Policy)

Ernest Prabhakar prabhaka at
Fri Sep 23 23:34:41 UTC 2005

Dear Eric, Russ, and everybody,

On Sep 12, 2005, at 12:09 PM, Eric S. Raymond wrote:

I've been trying to ignore this in hopes that somebody would suggest  
something better, but I may as well take the bull by the horns...

> The sense of the Board, along with its apology to
> license-discuss, was to approve my handling of this issue and to  
> encourage
> me to see the discussion through to completion on the Board's behalf.

Congratulations. :-)

> Reciprocally, the Board is very pleased to have an interlocutor for
> license-discuss's difficulties with the new criteria who combines
> candor with levelheadedness in the way you have done.

Thanks -- though, it does sound rather like a Star Trek character:

"I am InterLocutus of Borg. You will be proliferated." :-)

> We encourage other license-discuss members to cooperate with you in  
> developing
> license-discuss's critique and amendment proposals.

Um, that wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but...

On Sep 13, 2005, at 9:50 PM, Russell Nelson wrote:

>> I would also  suggest having an official moderator (potentially  
>> someone NOT on the
>> board) to ensure things stay on track.
> Are you volunteering?

Sigh.  No, I wasn't.  I actually don't feel that strongly about the  
proliferation issues per se, I just want the OSI to handle this issue  
in a credible way.

That said, I still feel like the job needs to be done, and nobody  
else seems to be volunteering.  Last call?

If you/the Board want me to do this -- and nobody else in the  
community objects or volunteers -- I'm willing to take this on.  BUT,  
only under the following conditions.

I. The Board explicitly spells out, on a public web page:
	i) The exact phrasing of the three new criteria
	ii) Whether they are part of, or supplemental to, the OSD
	iii) The mechanism by which they will be applied
	iv) The rationale for making them part of the standard for license  

I realize that may be a lot to ask, but frankly, without that we (the  
community) have nothing to work with.  I believe you already agreed  
to something similar - any ETA on when that will happen?  If its  
taking too long, I would encourage the Board to formally 'suspend'  
their decision until the notice is actually public available --  
otherwise its literally unenforceable.

II.  The discussion takes place openly and officially on "license- 
That means:
	i) There is a notice on the aforementioned web page inviting  
feedback on that forum
	ii) All four components under (I) are "in play" as valid topics of  
	iii) Eric, representing the Board, also participates in that discussion
	iv) the Board commits to respond, publicly and in detail, to the  
summary report I will provide

Again, this seems the minimum necessary to ensure a credible  
response. Plus, that finally gets this topic of license-discuss. :-)

And if you're willing to do all that, then:

III.  I personally (not representing Apple) agree to:
	i) Moderate the discussion of these topics on license-proliferation- 
	ii) Formulate a coherent summary representing the community consensus
	iii) Respond to and incorporate community feedback regarding that  
	iv) Advocate and elucidate that summary to the OSI Board

Fair enough?

Also, let me be up-front about my perspective on this issue.  I see  
the Board as *trustees* of the OSD and Certification Mark on behalf  
of the *entire* community.  That means that I believe they *do* have  
both the right and the duty to amend those as needed to represent the  
best interests of the community.  However, that also means they have  
an *obligation* to ensure that such action also represent the best  
*understanding* of the community, as reflected by considered feedback.

I would hope the OSI Board shares that belief, and despite the  
missteps of the past is willing to work with me and others in the  
community to improve our collective understanding of the issues at  
stake, and act on the basis of that improved understanding.

If the board (and the community) agree with that, I'll do what I can  
to help move things forward.

If not, please let me know now, so we don't waste any more of our time.

Ernest Prabhakar
(speaking only for myself, at least for now)

On Sep 12, 2005, at 12:09 PM, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
> 1. The three new criteria, as passed, will be (re)published on the  
> license
> approval process page....
> I believe Ken Coar is to be responsible for making the  
> republication happen

> 2. If the changes and procedural tweaks described below do not resolve
> all the issues with the new criteria, members of license-discuss are
> invited to submit a statement of the problem(s) and proposed changes
> to the Board.  The Board may then elect to alter or delete the  
> criteria.
> 3. We decided that the readability criterion is to be applied on a
> per-license basis; that is, the goal is for each individual license
> to be sufficiently clearly written for a non-lawyer to understand.
> (Russ told us this was the major controversy over the new criteria).
> 4. Towards this end, Mark Radcliffe is going to find us a set of Plain
> English criteria we can attach to the readability requirement to  
> define
> a lower bar for readability and make the intention of the requirement
> clearer.  The Board will reserve the option of applying additional
> readability criteria.
> 5. As a related issue, we will develop a guideline aimed at getting  
> authors
> to minimize differences when they write a new license derivative of an
> existing one.  This guideline will form part of a License Composition
> HOWTO which will be a medium-term to-do item once the current
> anti-proliferation effort is wound up.

On Sep 13, 2005, at 9:50 PM, Russell Nelson wrote:
> Ernest Prabhakar writes:
>> 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).
> This is an excellent idea.

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