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

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Jun 10 05:44:17 UTC 2019

Quoting Christopher Sean Morrison via License-discuss (license-discuss at lists.opensource.org):

> Code under an Open Source license that is not publicly available might
> as well not be.  

Objection:  Thorsten didn't speak of code that lacks public

> If it’s not publicly available and discoverable, I’m not sure I’d care
> or consider them a qualifying use (for purposes of being considered a
> license in use).

Objection:  Thorsten didn't say undiscoverable.

Let us consider a specific example.  I have a number of pages in my
Linuxmafia.com Knowledgebase that originated long ago as vehicles for
what I call 'non-rhetoric rhetoric', pages I created as handy links to
post to demolish dumb frequently-observed debate points.  Around 2002, 
we frequently heard 'There aren't enough mail client programs for
Linux', so I figured the most hilarious and effective way to blow that
up was to dispassionately and concisely list what's available.

The answer at last count was:  122 mail client programs.

During the 2000s, I was distressed to see that a particularly
meritorious (IMO) graphical mail client called Post Office by Pim van
Riezen was about to vanish off the Internet after van Riezen ceased
development.  It was/is GNU LGPL, so I rehosted the last source code
release and beta snapshot source from 2003 onto my Web server in
http://linuxmafia.com/pub/linux/apps/postoffice/ .

Now, I submit that this nice little codebase is _not_ a case of 'might as
well not be available', even if my mirror is by no means a usual place
to look.  Someone interested in reviving development and Web-searching
on the program name and the author's name is going to find it on the
first page of results.

Post Office would be an example of a codebase -- admittedly in its case 
a dusty but not at all hopeless one -- that would fall through the
cracks of conventional, commonly suggested  methods of auditing OSI
Certified licence usage.

Which I take to be an example of Thorsten's point.

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