[License-discuss] Evolving the License Review process for OSI

Thorsten Glaser tg at mirbsd.de
Mon Jun 3 15:00:55 UTC 2019

Russell McOrmond dixit:

>On Sun, Jun 2, 2019 at 10:52 PM Richard Fontana <rfontana at redhat.com> wrote:

>>license can be couched as an OSD 5/6 violation, because any
>>conceivable problematic feature of a quasi-FLOSS license is going to
>>be describable as a discrimination against *someone*. What has

In Debian, we have a number of “tests” that bring some guidelines
from practical uses to these, such as the “desert island” test,
the “chinese dissidator” test, etc.

I don’t think the current OSD bad. It’s common to have interpretation
aids without needing to completely change the rules.

>I would suggest that this process be followed up with a re-review of
>licenses which were historically approved, but that don't fit within
>community values.  It will always seem arbitrary if a new license is
>rejected based on a problem that applies to an existing approved license.

It will, but I feel strongly that disapproving licences that were
once approved and where fine, according to understanding (OSD and
community) back then (and where no bad things occurred during or
to force the approval) will be problematic; many people rely on
the OSI label, and changing the licence of an existing project is
an exercise in futility. (That being said, some FSF licences might
not survive this, either… I’m not a fan of those myself, but they
have their place.) Many people operate under the assumption that
a once-approved licence, approved under good faith, will not be
disapproved later.

If new findings occur with currently-approved licences that are
not making it completely unusable, they ought to be kept, perhaps
in a “grandfathered, problematic, actively derecommended for new
works” category.

(This need not apply if there were problems with the approval,
obviously bad clauses not read well enough or something. Apply
common sense.)

  "Using Lynx is like wearing a really good pair of shades: cuts out
   the glare and harmful UV (ultra-vanity), and you feel so-o-o COOL."
                                         -- Henry Nelson, March 1999

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