[License-discuss] [License-review] Encouraging discussion around the technicalities of licensing

Brendan Hickey brendan.m.hickey at gmail.com
Wed Feb 6 23:14:02 UTC 2019

On Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 17:19 Smith, McCoy <mccoy.smith at intel.com wrote:.

> IMO, the business model of the submitter should be completely immaterial,
> and the license should stand or fall based on whether it conforms to the
> OSD & whether the drafting is sufficiently rigorous and clear.  This is one
> of several propositions I proposed during my talk at CopyleftConf on Monday.

Hi McCoy,

I don't think the criteria you've laid out are sufficient. For starters
there's proliferation which I believe is largely a settled matter. Putting
proliferation aside other policy concerns remain.

Imagine a license that conforms to the OSD, is drafted rigorously, but may
be impossible to comply with in practice (ex. It fails debian-legal's
desert island test.) Such a license should be rejected. What good is a
license that can't be used? I believe that the board must consider public
policy in their decision-making. What I don't see are bright lines
delineating which matters of policy they should and should not consider.

On the topic of good faith, it's a given that we should assume it. It does
not follow from this that we should always disregard the motives of the
submitter. In other words: Charity is not a commitment to naiveté. The SSPL
followed on the heels of the Commons Clause and Salil Deshpande's anti-open
source abuse campaign. Even if we read the OSD narrowly and resolve every
question of conformance in favor of the SSPL, it would conform only in a
way that hews as close to the bone as possible. I believe it was submitted
in bad faith because it looks like a license submitted in bad faith.


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