Groklaw's OSI item (was: When will CPAL actually be _used_?)

Brian Behlendorf brian at
Wed Aug 22 20:25:02 UTC 2007

On Wed, 22 Aug 2007, Cinly Ooi wrote:
> Microsoft should not be discriminated simply because it is Microsoft, nor
> should it be given special treatment if it is Microsoft.

I agree with that.

> My view is if the licenses satisfy OSI rules on Open Source and License
> Proliferation, it should by default be approved. Otherwise, OSI can and
> should be stand accused of anti-Microsoft.

I agree.  I suppose my prior question about proliferation could be 
answered by understanding specifically what the policy is - how much 
substantive difference is required in order to justify a new license, etc. 
I don't know if it's like the Supreme Court's definition of smut, "we know 
it when we see it", or something that can be articulated, turned into a 
term of the OSD, etc.

> Microsoft, like any other submitters, should be cautioned that its
> certification will be pulled if it twist the truth or behave in any manner
> that is detriment to OSI's objective.

I think that goes way too far.  AFAIK, OSI has never "pulled" the 
certification of any license, even ones that in retrospect probably should 
not have been approved, let alone one based on the actions of the license 
steward.  Imagine the chaos it could cause for third parties who choose 
to use that certified license and then are told, probably without much 
warning, that it's no longer Open Source - purely due to actions beyond 
their control, and not because the license itself fails some OSD test. 
Imagine the burden it places on OSI of having to arbitrate not just 
licensing policy but the "Open Source truthfulness" of any submitting 
organization - for all time.  OSI's been a fine platform for airing issues 
related to this - publishing the Halloween documents, for example - but I 
don't think pulling a certification for bad behavior would be an 
appropriate use of its power.  I've not even addressed whether such a 
thing is legal for a certification body or mark, or a 501c3, either.


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