[License-discuss] Proposed license decision process

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Sat Dec 8 18:33:59 UTC 2018

Bruce Perens wrote:
> It's nice that the purpose is acknowledged to be "software freedom". However, people wanting a programatic definition of that will be disappointed.


I agree. You did much cleaner defining job with the OSD, and thanks for that! 


But let us nevertheless agree on a pragmatic definition of "open source software". 


“Open source software” means software actually distributed under terms that grant a copyright and patent license from all contributors to the software for every licensee to access and use the complete source code, make copies of the software or derivative works thereof and, without payment of royalties or other consideration, to distribute the unmodified or modified software. 


Everything else (like copyleft, warranties, attribution, trademarks, etc.) would be FOSS license-specific, subject to the 10-point OSD, and subject to software marketplace acceptance. That is how licenses ought to be reviewed and accepted/rejected. That makes it clear that there are basic, insurmountable FOSS-defined principles that all open source software must meet, and also vigorous license experimentation to protect the perceived needs of the software development community.


By the way, I'd add the 10-point W3C Royalty-Free Patent License definition also. Strong and clear definitions like this can eliminate confusion and encourage meaningful diversity.



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