OSI enforcement? (Was Re: Microsoft use of the term "Open Source")

B Galliart bgallia at gmail.com
Tue Jan 1 17:49:23 UTC 2008

On Dec 31, 2007 2:45 PM, Russ Nelson <nelson at crynwr.com> wrote:
> Chris Travers writes:
>  > In essence, the OSI does *not* claim any protection or authority over terms
>  > such as "open source."
> Just exactly WHAT are you talking about?  Are you a complete moron or
> are you just mostly a moron?  OF COURSE OSI CLAIMS AUTHORITY OVER
> Any doubt about it now?

As much as Chris Travers' line of reasoning bothers me, I don't think
it is a sign that he is either a complete or even mostly a moron.  I
recommend that the OSI still takes what he says as representative of
what others may think.  Why should QNX care what the OSI has to say
when they write a press release?  Does OSI's objections ever result in
an official press release?  What members of the popular press pay
attention to the OSI when they raise an objection?

What is worse is how the OSI handles what it does have trademark
status over, the OSI certification mark.  At first glance at the
website, it looks like the OSI logo in the upper left corner of the
web page is available for use under the creative commons license since
no other terms are stated at the bottom of the web page.  It isn't
until you dig into the OSD section of the website does the terms of
use of the mark become available.  Even then, the terms are broken
across two web pages instead of one.  Some of the terms seem to be
created just to discourage use of the mark rather than promote use.
Why does the OSI insist that use of the mark involve linking to the
image on OSI's web server?  What amount of traffic can the OSI web
server keep up with?  What is the level of availability?  What
guarantee does the OSI provide that the web server will never be
compromised and the images defaced?

>From where I sit, the OSI has no sting when it raises objections.  The
failure to gain rights to the OSI mark changes nothing for a company's
bottom line because even those that do have rights to use it don't do
so.  It is not a differentiator.  It does not commonly appear for the
majority of Sourceforge projects, on the Mozilla website, the Eclipse
website or anyplace else where one might expect to see it to raise
brand awareness.

The bottom line is that a company can probably generate more good will
by misusing the term open source in a press release than the
population that will be reached by an OSI objection.

>  > In fact, the OSI's claim on the lack of authority
>  > over the term "open source" seems clear and unambiguous.
> Only because you have poop for brains.  Would you please go away and
> find another hobby, cuz ... you aren't helping us.

I would say that the OSI does have authority over "open source" in the
same way that a bowling club has authority over if someone claims to
have "bowled 300."  For non-members, the club has no legal authority
to stop someone who isn't a member of the club.  But for those members
of the club that choose to ignore the rules of the club and make false
claims brings into question the integrity of the membership.

Having said that, I don't think calling someone poopy-head is the
right answer for anyone who is over 10 years old.

>  > Secondly, MS-RL is an ambiguous term.  I don't remember the OSI approving
>  > the Microsoft Reference License [Agreement aka MSR-LA]...
> The problem, Chris, is that you are a frigging idiot.  I have put up
> with your nonsense and uselessness lo these many months simply because
> you haven't gone over the edge into stupidity.  You just have.
> Plonk.  And I speak as the OSI postmaster when I say that.

In the OSI FAQ is: "...freedom sometimes means allowing activities you
don't like. That does not mean we endorse such activities—quite the
contrary! But it does mean that we hold freedom higher than we do
oppression, censorship, or discrimination."

Stepping over the edge of stupidity seems to be something that members
of the popular press does regularly when they write about "open
source."  Yet that group should still remain part of the target
audience for the OSI message.

I rather Chris' misconceptions continue to be issued here than force
him to pass them on elsewhere.

Or maybe the answer in the OSI's FAQ should be modified to clarify the
OSI's position on poopy-heads.

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