[License-discuss] Draft of new OSI licenses landing page; please review.

Karl Fogel kfogel at red-bean.com
Wed Apr 4 22:39:17 UTC 2012

"Lawrence Rosen" <lrosen at rosenlaw.com> writes:
>There is no way that OSI is qualified to "recommend releasing your
>software under one of the licenses from the first group if possible,"
>as your draft now reads. You don't understand any of the clients'
>needs (nor do you actually represent a client), so how can you
>recommend anything except after disclaiming your very authority and
>ability to do so?
>Are you intending to recommend those licenses to companies and
>projects already successfully using other licenses?

Okay, how about "Recommend for new projects unless you already know you
have a reason to use a different license?"

In other words, the wording is aimed at newcomers.  So maybe it needs to
do a better job of letting the reader know that if they're *not* new to
this stuff, then the advice is not meant for them.  Nothing there now is
written in stone -- it's open to drastic editing.

>I would have no objection to OSI exercising its educational role to
>disclose true statements about any of our OSI-approved licenses, or
>even to quote statements attributed to the authors of those
>licenses. You could certainly publish valid popularity statistics for
>these licenses, for example the Black Duck report, or identify which
>licenses have been deprecated by their authors.
>However, in line with our educational goal, some of us may also have
>"true" statements to make about some of those licenses to which some
>others of us might disagree. Be prepared, if you wish to have OSI
>comment upon specific licenses, to let the comments flow freely on
>your website. That may be a good thing, but it will certainly be
>Only then, after reviewing that published truthful (or at least
>properly attributed) information, should a lawyer or other trusted
>counselor *recommend* a license to his or her client.

We're not in an attorney-client relationship with readers of our site,
nor are we representing this as legal advice.  We can make that as clear
as necessary, of course.

The point is, many many people will be selecting a license without the
advice of a lawyer experienced in this stuff.  The OSI is a natural
place for them to go for license information.  So it's an opportunity
for us, as long as we're careful not to misrepresent the nature of the


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