inconsistency in OSD- software (#2) v. licenses/rights (every other plank)

Jesse Hannah jesse.hannah at
Wed Aug 1 04:09:35 UTC 2007

Good find. You're right--whereas the rest of the OSD talks about the  
license or rights granted by the license, #2's wording at least is  
inconsistent. I think the "preferred form in which a programmer would  
modify the program" phrase is still a little vague, since that could  
still include the intermediate forms mentioned in the current'd probably be better to just say "source code". Other  
than that, I think those clarifications you suggest are a good idea.

Jesse B Hannah
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On 31 Jul 2007, at 20:58, Luis Villa wrote:

> history/context/clarification question (and last email of the  
> night, I swear):
> In doing a quick comparison of the v3 and the OSD, I finally noticed
> that section 2 of the OSD is inconsistent with the rest of the
> document, since it speaks of qualities of specific software, rather
> than rights or qualities of a generic license. This makes it a little
> nonsensical to ask the question (as
> does) 'does the license under consideration satisfy plank 2 of the
> OSD?'
> I know this language comes from OSD's roots in the DFSG. Is there any
> particular reason it hasn't been removed (since presumably anyone
> writing such a license intends to release source code) or updated to
> make it consistent?
> If the board were to consider clarifying the language, I might suggest
> something like:
> ===
> 2. Source Code
> The license must apply to the preferred form in which a programmer
> would modify the program (typically referred to as source code), and
> must allow distribution in this form as well as compiled form.
> ===
> I dropped "Where some form of a product is not distributed with source
> code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source
> code..." since translating those clauses into a license requirement
> would obviously preclude the BSD and other such licenses.
> To replace that language, I might rewrite the Introduction to look
> something like:
> "Open source doesn't just mean access to source code. To be Open
> Source Software, the source code for the software must be distributed
> along with the software or otherwise easily obtainable, and it must be
> available in the preferred form for modification, without obfuscation
> or pre-processing. The source must also be licensed under an Open
> Source Initiative Approved license.
> To be approved, a license must comply with the following criteria:"
> Obviously, I realize the OSD has worked fine for a long time despite
> this inconsistency, so this isn't a huge deal. But since there seems
> to be some emphasis right now on process, I thought this might be a
> good time for a suggestion intended to clarify and improve the
> process.
> Luis

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