[License-discuss] history of l-r/org relationship [was Re: [License-review] For Approval: The Cryptographic Autonomy License]

Luis Villa luis at lu.is
Sat May 18 21:30:31 UTC 2019

On Sat, May 18, 2019 at 7:27 AM Richard Fontana <rfontana at redhat.com> wrote:

> On Mon, May 13, 2019 at 3:31 PM Luis Villa <luis at lu.is> wrote:
> > As the docs and our practice suggest, the board has always formally been
> the final decision maker, never the list. But I'm not sure that the
> distinction matters at all - for submitters, and for the broader open
> source community, being screened and rejected by a list that is (1) a
> documented, formal part of the process (2) hosted on opensource.org and
> (3) has a lot of present and former board members on it is, well,
> "tantamount to OSI rejecting a license".
> >
> > Perhaps there is some important nuance there I'm missing, though.
> It's my feeling that engagement (by non-submitters) on license-review
> has declined over time


Not sure if it has gone down all that much? But we're certainly agreed that
it isn't currently a very healthy level of participation, so it'd certainly
be appropriate for the board to review/restate/clarify the relationship of
the list to the overall process.

But that clarification can't come simply by implication based on parsing of
number of mailing list participants - "oh, hey, list participation is down
so I guess that means that if you're chased away OSI didn't reject the
license, you just never actually submitted it". The list has had a formal
role for the entire history of the process, the list has certainly rejected
licenses by acclamation, and if that role no longer exists, the board
should say so, rewrite the documentation, and moderate the list

> If I'm right about engagement, it
> seems consistent with the views you've repeatedly expressed about the
> problems with having a mailing list-centered process for reviewing
> licenses.

Yes, the level of engagement is certainly one part of my mailing list
concern (though only one part).

> One possible nuance is that even if the "committee" reaction to a
> given license is negative, causing a license submitter not having the
> persistence of someone like Jim Wright to withdraw, the reason for
> that reaction may itself be unclear or not clearly justified, and
> there won't be anything approaching the clear disposition that a vote
> to reject a license will have.

I'm definitely in favor of clearer dispositions! But I think that has to
include owning the fact that 100+ email threads that chase away submitters
*are* dispositions, and endeavoring to fix them, rather than using a
formality to claim that they aren't dispositions and therefore don't need
to be clarified.

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