[License-discuss] notes on a systematic approach to "popular" licenses

Richard Fontana fontana at sharpeleven.org
Tue Jan 10 21:05:21 UTC 2017

On Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 04:07:53PM +0000, Luis Villa wrote:

> The proliferation report attempted to address this problem by categorizing
> existing licenses. These categories were, intentionally or not, seen as the
> "popular or strong communities list" and "everything else". Without a
> process or clear set of criteria to update the "popular" list, however, it
> became frozen in time. It is now difficult to credibly recommend the list
> to newcomers or third parties (MPL 1.1 is deprecated; no mention of
> Blackduck #4 GPL v3; etc.).
>    - I don't recommend merely updating the existing "popular and..." list
>    through a subjective or one-time process. The politics of that will be
>    messy, and without a documented, mostly-objective, data-driven method,
>    it'll again become an outdated mess.

Luis, I agree.

I just want to point out something I've said privately (and I think
publicly as well, if not in a few years), which is that the current
version of the "popular or strong communities list" is in my opinion a
mess. It takes the original (flawed IMO) ~2006 list and does the

* Changes MPL 1.1 to MPL 2.0 (which of course didn't exist in 2006 and
  which is significantly different from MPL 1.1)

* In contrast to MPL, the existence of significantly different
  OSI-approved versions of the GPL and LGPL is ignored

* Ignores the fact that CDDL's current license steward has for several
  years had a minor (1.1) update which has not been submitted for OSI

I had thought it might be preferable to return to the original
"popular list" and just make clear that it is the product of a
now-distant point in time, but I now believe this solution would
probably be seen by many as worse than the current approach.


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