OSI approves CPAL at OSCON 2007

Ross Mayfield ross.mayfield at socialtext.com
Tue Jul 31 03:24:50 UTC 2007

Wanted the close the loop and thank license-discuss and OSI for the approval
of the Common Public Attribution License.  Now that we have Socialtext has
followed the process, we are adopting CPAL and are OSI-Certified and
genuinely Open Source.  If our license wasn't approved, we would have
selected an OSI-Certified license less optimal for our products.  And since
it was, other products can choose this path, and my hope is CPAL will grow
our community.

Dan Bricklin has written a great guide for those considering adopting CPAL
for their own projects:


Again, thank you to those who participated in the process.  Even though we
might not have agreed, I am pleased with the outcome of the text and know
most of you are.  I look forward to contributing to future discussions.


On 7/30/07, Michael Tiemann <tiemann at opensource.org> wrote:
> I have no idea why this never made it to the reflector.  I'll try sending
> again.
> M
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Michael Tiemann <tiemann at opensource.org>
> Date: Jul 27, 2007 1:43 AM
> Subject: OSI approves CPAL at OSCON 2007
> To: license-discuss at opensource.org
> I wish that Russ Nelson or I would have been the first to be able to
> report the results of the board meetings held at OSCON this week.  The
> schedule of our activities was posted on our wiki, but that schedule
> did not necessarily tell the whole story of our busy time in Portland.
> Between the 6 hour work session Sunday, the 10+ hour board meeting
> Monday, programming and presentations Tue-Thu, the hour-long BOF on
> Tuesday, the 2+ hour BOF on Wednesday night, and 16+ hours of booth
> duty (usually attended by at least 2 OSI board members, and which
> helped the OSI raise approximately $4000 from approximately 200
> conference attendees), there has been a lot to juggle.  Not to mention
> the challenge of coordinating 8 different board members staying in 8
> different hotels, working for 8 different companies, each of which are
> demanding lots of attention when we're not attending OSI-related
> meetings.  I now have time to write this email because OSCON 2007 is
> over for me, and I have a few hours before I need to wake up and catch
> an early morning flight to my next destination.
> In Monday's board meeting the topic of whether to approve the CPAL was
> considered.   We took the advice of the License Approval Chair, which
> was to approve the CPAL.  We know that there was not 100% consensus
> among those who subscribe to license-discuss, but we felt that there
> was reasonable consensus that the safe harbor of the license was
> sufficiently broad to meet the requirements of the OSD and therefore
> approve the license.  Whereas there was significant and broad
> consensus *against* the predecessor version, the response by many to
> the current version was a stark contrast that we read as general
> acceptance.  In the course of taking that recommendation, which I
> agreed with, I observed what I considered to be a mismatch between the
> text of the license and the intentions discussed, debated, and before
> us to approve.
> I suggested that it would be better to correct the error in the
> license as long as such correction did not in any way affect the
> substance of the discussion of that license.  If the error had in any
> way violated the OSD, I would have sent the license back to the review
> process, as I did when the SimPL license was (erroneously) submitted
> with incorrect text.  But this error related to a potential for
> confusion where none need exist, in a license whose terms were
> otherwise recommended for approval.  I thought it better to make a
> change and approve a license with less potential for confusion than to
> approve the license and deal later with the confusion, or force yet
> another delay on an already long-delayed process simply to recount
> votes that had already been cast.  The board discussed this and
> agreed.
> In the middle of all this, I was lobbied by a third party attending
> OSCON to make additional changes that would have altered the substance
> of the license, I said "no, we're not going to consider changing the
> conditions of the bargain--we're only going to consider corrections to
> the text to reflect the bargain that was discussed."  I further
> explained that if the person's proposed change was not enough to
> change consensus on license-discuss (to which he had posted his
> suggestion to no avail), private lobbying wasn't going to get me to
> suggest a private amendment to the licenseas a requirement for
> approval.  The community had been consulted, and its stance on that
> issue as well as the overall substance, which was not a unanimous
> stance, was clear.
> If the board were more efficient in conducting its business, perhaps
> we would have time to check and re-check every submission while still
> providing tolerable turn-around.  The board certainly values the
> advice that the License Approval Committee provides to us--it is
> advice we take very seriously and it is advice that helps us greatly
> to define and communicate our statements about the licenses submitted
> to us.  Even when a license is clearly OSD-compliant or clearly not
> OSD-compliant, we are happy that there are "many eyes" reading along
> with us, making the work both easier and more certain.  But it is an
> advisory role, and ultimately it is up to the Board to discern what
> and how much of that advice to take, not unlike a maintainer reading
> comments from other reviewers before committing a patch in modified or
> unmodified form.  And in this case, we took that advice (which was not
> unanimous), accepted a change we considered to be an improvement in
> clarity but not a change in substance, and approved the license.
> I look forward to getting our minutes published and I look forward to
> answering any other questions anybody on this list may have for me,
> either in public email or privately.  This situation is not the
> Board's preferred way to do things, but the Board does prefer to do
> things it considers responsible compared to doing nothing because it
> lacks any confidence whatsoever in its own ability to act responsibly.
> In this circumstance we felt it better to act than to wait (or, more
> accurately, more harmful to wait than to act).
> Some of you have already expressed your strong disagreement with our
> decision, and you, too, are entitled to your opinion.  But know this:
> the board does value your opinion, and we hope that you will continue
> to provide it, both when you agree and when you disagree with our
> policies, procedures, and decisions.  And the board takes very
> seriously its responsibility for serving the communities of
> developers, users, and other stakeholders who want to see more people
> benefiting from more open source software, software that fulfills the
> promise of the OSD.
> The next OSI Board meeting is scheduled for August 11th, and it will
> likely be at 11AM EDT (8AM PDT).  If you would like to attend (by
> conference call), send me an email and I'll work out how to get you
> dialed in.  If you'd like to address the board, I'll create time on
> the schedule for that.
> M

Ross Mayfield
CEO & Co-founder
1-877-GET-WIKI, ext. 209
655 High St. Palo Alto, CA 94301
ross.mayfield at socialtext.com
company: http://www.socialtext.com
blog: http://ross.typepad.com
this email is: [ ] bloggable [ x ] ask first [ ] private
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