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

Henrik Ingo henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
Sun May 19 21:23:43 UTC 2019

On Sat, May 18, 2019 at 2:37 PM Richard Fontana <rfontana at redhat.com> 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 (and over a longer period of time if you
> consider the license approval portion of license-discuss pre-~2007 or
> whenever l-r was created). I wouldn't know how to attempt to measure
> that (maybe look at subscriptions and unsubscriptions, and try to
> account for variations in the numbers of licenses submitted or under
> active consideration during a given time period). But the more
> engagement goes down, the harder it is to seriously contend that l-r
> is equivalent to a board committee, and indeed the harder it is to
> contend that the OSI is just acting in accordance with community
> consensus as evidenced by the list.

Statistically, you may be right, but I'd still like to challenge this.
It is my belief that the list is merely functioning efficiently. I
often read review discussions, and if I agree with the
majority/consensus, I stay silent. It doesn't mean I'm not active. I
also feel that the outcomes of review discussions do represent FOSS
community values rather well. Whether or not that community is paying
attention to the list, those (few) who are active know the FOSS
community values well enough. In some cases this of course is because
they were there to define those values back in the day.

I think of my own participation a bit like jury duty. I try to
participate more actively (e.g. thoroughly read the license) at least
once per year. In many other cases I read comments from those
(lawyers) who invest a more consistent effort, in particular yourself.

Even then, final responsibility to come to the right conclusion of
course rests with the elected board. The board should always ask
themseĺves whether the l-r discussion correctly reflects wider FOSS
community opinion and values.

henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
+358-40-5697354        skype: henrik.ingo            irc: hingo

My LinkedIn profile: http://fi.linkedin.com/pub/henrik-ingo/3/232/8a7

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