[License-discuss] popularity, usage, re-review of old licenses [was Re: Evolving the License Review process for OSI

Luis Villa luis at lu.is
Fri Jun 7 23:14:25 UTC 2019

On Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 6:47 AM Pamela Chestek <pamela at chesteklegal.com>

> On 6/3/2019 7:13 PM, Luis Villa wrote:
> > for basic "is it used by any modern-ish software at all" those could
> > give you a pretty good start.
> It might reduce some of the perceived risks with changing opinions or
> classifications of licenses if they aren't in use anyway. It's also a
bit of proof in the pudding, meaning the fact that no one is using it
> may be evidence that the intended audience perceived unacceptable
> drawbacks with the license that were missed at the time of approval.

As has been pointed out in other emails[1], it's impossible to prove the
negative - "absolutely no one is using this". There is no
guaranteed-comprehensive database of FOSS-y code. So one should be careful
with saying things like "not in use".

But if a license can't be found in the tens of millions of projects on
GitHub, plus Fedora/Debian[2], then for many (all?) policy purposes I think
OSI should feel comfortable saying "this is unused, or close enough that we
feel OK treating it as unused"...


[1] who did not notice my "basic internet 101" subject change ;)
[2] I suspect OSI should probably focus on *live* software in most policy
questions, otherwise I'd also have included Software Heritage
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