[License-discuss] The Scope of the OSD (Was For Approval: The Cryptographic Autonomy License)

Richard Fontana rfontana at redhat.com
Mon May 13 18:26:12 UTC 2019

On Mon, May 13, 2019 at 10:39 AM Pamela Chestek <pamela at chesteklegal.com> wrote:
> Moved to license-discuss, since it's not specifically about CAL.
> On 5/11/2019 1:48 PM, Smith, McCoy wrote:

> I do think it ought to be made clear, though, whether Freedom Zero is part of the OSD. I think we’ve had some debate in the past as to whether it was (I think it is inherently so, but I don’t see that the OSD makes that explicitly clear).  If it is not, I don’t see how that’s a valid reason to reject any license.

I see this as being addressed by the new process which "ensure[s] that
a license will be approved only if it conforms to the Open Source
Definition and provides software freedom."

Based on some discussion I've seen on Twitter, some seem to assume
that invoking "software freedom" necessarily means specifically
deferring to the FSF's interpretation of its own free software
definition. I think the FSF's pronouncements on the meaning of free
software are the most persuasive resource that exists on what software
freedom means, but I would expect over time the OSI might take
positions on the meaning of software freedom that the FSF has not yet
reached, or might disagree with the FSF, much as Debian at least
implicitly sometimes reaches different conclusions from the the FSF as
to what is free software.

That said, I can think of few concepts as core to software freedom as
what the FSF calls Freedom Zero.

> McCoy,
> A hard rule of "if you can't name an OSD the license doesn't meet it must be approved" doesn't leave room for stuff that we all clearly agree doesn't belong, what I think of as the Section 101 problem for open source licenses.* What if it's just outside the concept? Say I write a license that is a grant of all patent and copyright rights but as the only condition of the license you have to come to my house and feed my goats on Fridays. I don't see any definition that doesn't comply with, so it should be approved as an open source license?
> You can contort OSD 5 and 6 to justify it, "you're excluding people who don't live near you!/are allergic to goats!/are doing more socially beneficial things on Fridays!" As Richard Fontana said earlier in the CAL thread, you can rationalize OSD 5 & 6 to claim discrimination for any limitation. GPL discriminates against those who won't add their name to a modified file (Section 2(a)) because they are being harassed for working in free software. So I am skeptical of any theory under OSD 5 & 6 because you can always find someone who hypothetically is being discriminated against.

I feel OSD 5/6 are useful in focusing attention on what is arguably
wrong with a license from an open source/software freedom perspective
(not necessarily the discrimination as such, but the nature of the
non-equally-applied restriction).


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