[License-discuss] proposal to revise and slightly reorganize the OSI licensing pages

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Wed Jun 6 14:13:23 UTC 2012

I'll try to avoid the minor tempest about the list that has nothing to do
with the proposal for a new format for a landing page, and just ask a

On Sat, Jun 02, 2012 at 12:35:06PM -0700, Luis Villa wrote:
>     Open Source licenses are licenses that comply with the Open Source
> Definition and have been approved through the Open Source Initiative's
> license review process.

Is "have been approved through the [OSI's] license review process" really
a requirement for being an "open source license", or is that just a
requirement for being *certified* as an "open source license" by the OSI?
It seems that there is a distinction to be made between "OSI-approved"
and merely "open source", where "open source" would *by definition*
(tautologically, it seems) be any license that conforms to the definition
of open source.

If nothing else, I'd think that avoiding a clear statement of approval as
a requirement to be called "open source" might head off many objections
over years to come and/or declining respect for the OSI as the entity
responsible for defining open source.  As things currently stand, some
corporations and individuals question whether a license that makes source
available solely for review is "open source", and a reference to the
provenance of the term "open source" and the definition maintained by OSI
is only sometimes effective at getting them to shut up.

Adding a statement to the effect that the OSI is the sole gatekeeper of
open-source-ness might prove counterproductive in the future because it
effectively tells people that the "definition" is no longer really a
definition, and serves solely as one of two criteria for OSI favor -- the
other possibly being fancy or whim.  Whether that is how the OSI conducts
itself or not may then become irrelevant to the general public perception
of the matter.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]

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