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

Christopher Sean Morrison brlcad at mac.com
Mon May 20 04:04:13 UTC 2019

> On May 19, 2019, at 5:23 PM, Henrik Ingo <henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi> wrote:
> On Sat, May 18, 2019 at 2:37 PM Richard Fontana <rfontana at redhat.com> wrote:
>> 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).
> 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 echo this challenge and sentiment as well.  If a point has already been made well enough and it’s not in contention, typical open source mailing list etiquette dictates efficient silence.

Now that's obviously not the perspective or at least the behavior of everyone on the list — as evidenced recently in the 0bsd review where some remained silent despite counterpoints — but I would argue such behavior is abnormal decorum and was irrelevant to the end result.  If discussions were on Zulip/Slack/Riot/[insert-fav-team-chat], there could probably be at least a notional gauge of engagement with hearts, thumbs, and emoticons, but in general I would not presume postings or lack thereof convey much if any meaning.

I think another aspect affecting engagement is rehashed-topic fatigue.  A new license comes in often with the same discussions, sometimes content-related, sometimes process-related.  The l-r mailing list as a *process* has proven itself terribly inconsistent in particular.   Problems have been discussed, concerns raised by submitters, changes proposed, but nothing results.  Whether apathy or ignorance here or by the board, or entrenched people with disproportionate chilling, or belief that the process is just fine, some discussions get skipped on because the outcome is consistent.

> 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.

+1 :thumbsup: ;)


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