[License-discuss] alternative language proposal, question about history [was Re: proposal to revise and slightly reorganize the OSI licensing pages]

Luis Villa luis at tieguy.org
Sat Jun 9 17:00:11 UTC 2012

[Since the other thread has degenerated, changing the thread title.]

On Sat, Jun 9, 2012 at 9:42 AM, Chad Perrin <perrin at apotheon.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 07, 2012 at 03:09:47PM -0700, Luis Villa wrote:
>> On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 3:04 PM, John Cowan <cowan at mercury.ccil.org> wrote:
>> > Chad Perrin scripsit:
>> >
>> >> 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?
>> >
>> > Clearly the latter.  The text should be adjusted accordingly, as there are
>> > several reasons why a license might be Open Source but not OSI-approved:
>> >
>> > 1) It has not been submitted for certification in proper form.
>> >
>> > 2) The Board considers it a vanity license.
>> >
>> > 3) The Board believes that it substantially duplicates an existing license.
>> >
>> >> 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.
>> >
>> > Exactly.
>> I've got a partial draft response to Chad drafted, but John covers
>> most of it - the general point is definitely well-taken. I'm about to
>> leave on vacation, so am a bit crunched for time- if someone would
>> propose an alternate wording, I'd appreciate it.
> I've been without email for about two and a half days, which accounts for
> the delay in my response.  I just wanted to thank you both for your
> replies, clarifying the intent of the passage I quoted.
> I think the sentence in question can be best "fixed" by breaking it into
> two sentences, one each about what qualifies as an open source license
> and what the OSI review process does.  While the following can surely
> stand some improvement, it may give a sense of what I mean as an example
> of how the edited form might be structured:
>    Open Source licenses are licenses that comply with the Open Source
>    Definition.  The Open Source Initiative's review process is used to
>    approve licenses for certification by the Open Source Initiative, as
>    examples of licenses that conform to the Open Source Definition that
>    should be regarded as well-established within the Open Source
>    community.
> I hope that helps get the ball rolling on a revision.

That's definitely a useful start. I'm not sure I agree 100% with the
substance of the second sentence, as (to the best of my knowledge) OSI
has never formally laid out a policy or criteria by which something
could be OSD-compliant but not approved and placed into at least
*some* category. But I'm definitely blurry on that and would welcome
correction/clarification (both of Chad's proposed language and my
understanding of the history).

Unfortunately, in 24 hours, I am going off-grid for two weeks - I
regret the timing but look forward to catching up when I get back and
hopefully rolling this issue up.


More information about the License-discuss mailing list