[License-discuss] what would de-listing of licenses look like?

Richard Fontana fontana at sharpeleven.org
Thu Mar 7 05:13:12 UTC 2013

On Wed, Mar 06, 2013 at 08:49:37PM -0800, Bruce Perens wrote:
> The justification for de-listing presently accepted licenses is that:
> 1. They are ambiguous or likely to perform in court in unexpected ways, should
> they ever be litigated. And thus they are harmful to their users. De-listing is
> a prompt to the organization that originally created the license to replace it
> with an accepted license or to submit a new version with greater legal
> competence in its construction. These would be the "crayon" licenses, mostly,
> those written without legal counsel.
> 2. They don't comply with the OSD and were accepted in error.
> 3. They are both redundant and rarely used.
> Those are the only justifications. You don't get to de-list something because
> you don't like its politics.

In my view, Bruce's justification 2 is the only justification: the
license does not comply with the OSD and was accepted in error.

I don't believe it is practical for the OSI to assess Bruce's
justification 1. As for Bruce's justification 3, I think the OSI does
enough here in its efforts to classify already-approved licenses. 

I certainly agree with Bruce that de-listing cannot be for political
reasons. The rationale must be somehow grounded in the OSD, much like
approval of licenses. 

> I think you need to have a committee review a proposal to de-list, with
> arguments from the submitter regarding the problems in the license, 

I agree with that.

> and with
> advice from an attorney on whether the suggested problems are really problems.

I don't agree with this, since my view is that the OSD should be the
basis for an argument for delisting, and you don't need to be, or to
get, a lawyer to interpret the OSD (more precisely, lawyers and
non-lawyers are equally competent to interpret the OSD).

- Richard

>     Thanks
>     Bruce
> On 03/06/2013 08:23 PM, Luis Villa wrote:
>     On Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 11:48 AM, Richard Fontana
>     <fontana at sharpeleven.org> wrote:
>         The Frameworx license is one of those OSI-approved licenses that I
>         believe was approved "in haste". If OSI had such a procedure, I would
>         recommend that the Frameworx license be reviewed for de-listing.
>     Any recommendations on what such a process would look like, Richard?
>     I'm not super-enthused about the idea, but don't want to rule out
>     anything without at least some discussion.
>     Luis
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