[Fwd: FW: For Approval: Generic Attribution Provision]

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at gatech.edu
Sun Jan 21 00:30:38 UTC 2007

Peter Kloprogge wrote:
> Reading the arguments I get the strong impression that many feel an attribution 
> provision is not supporting the general open source idea, but there is no 
> definition that limits an attribution provision.

Actually, yes there is.  It's called the Open Source Definition (not to
mention the Free Software definition and the Debian Free Software

> Just to go back one
> step, the home page of opensource.org clearly states:
> " The *basic idea behind open source* is very simple: When programmers can read, 
> redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software 
> evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can 
> happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software 
> development, seems astonishing."

Why start at the second paragraph?  The first paragraph (indeed the
first sentence) says "Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit
corporation dedicated to managing and *promoting the Open Source
Definition* for the good of the community [...]" [emphasis added].

> and it also states:
> "Open Source Initiative exists to make this case to the commercial world."

Not to cater blindly to the commercial world, but to persuade them.

> The key issue here is that providing the possibility to add an attribution 
> provision doesn't hurt the basic idea (if enough contributors accept it) and it 
> certainly helps making a case to the commercial world.

The basic idea is the OSD.  The OSD predates OSI (as DFSG) and the OSD
(in current form) is the organization's core mission.

> So OSI should allow (and perhaps even support) attribution provisions
to fulfill its objectives and
> these objectives should take precedence above the ten definitions - if reasonable 
> attribution provisions don't comply with #10 change #10 and develop specific 
> rules with regards to attribution.

This would be the tail wagging the dog.  Why not change the OSD so that
shared source becomes OSI-approved too?  Because we're trying to
persuade companies to use real OSD-compliant licenses.  Letting them
persuade us to call non-compliant licenses open source is a betrayal of
OSI's mission.

Matthew Flaschen

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