[License-discuss] comprehensiveness (or not) of the OSI-approved list [was Re: [License-review] For Legacy Approval: LBNL BSD]

VanL van.lindberg at gmail.com
Mon May 20 18:10:49 UTC 2019

I was just going to move this to L-D, and I see that Luis beat me to the

On Fri, May 17, 2019, 10:59 AM Richard Fontana <rfontana at redhat.com> wrote:

> I can't find the tweet but on Twitter recently Van Lindberg expressed
> the view that for distros like Debian or Fedora, the only portions of
> them that can legitimately be called "open source" are those that are
> licensed under an OSI-approved license. I do not agree with this at
> all, and if the legacy approval mechanism can help respond to this
> sort of viewpoint then it can only be beneficial to OSI.

I did write this, and I would say it again.

But this is not an attack on the OSI. You are unlikely to hear such a thing
from me; you will scarcely find someone who will defend the OSD and OSI
more vigorously.

In contrast to some other comments, I *do* write in contracts that open
source licenses are only those that are approved by the OSI. The definition
is important. It allows me to understand that there are certain guarantees
that I can make about Open Source software.

At least for now, and unless the OSI fumbles the ball so severely that it
cannot be recovered, I believe that OSI *is* the arbiter of what is Open
Source, just like the FSF is the arbiter of what is Free Software. That is
a reflection of my perception of the OSI's authority - actual or potential
- due to its development and stewardship of the OSD and its ongoing process
to certify licenses against it.

I know of some people who have written of the OSI and the OSD. I think that
is dangerous for the organization and would be a huge loss for the whole
community if we did not have an official definition.

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