[License-discuss] comprehensiveness (or not) of the OSI-approved list

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Wed May 22 13:12:58 UTC 2019

Let's clarify the history on CC0.

Objection to CC0 was primarily you and Bruce which made it DOA regardless of the opinions of the rest of the list.  There was no "quickly growing consensus" when they pulled the plug.

Many, if not the majority, of folks on L-R thought this should have been an easy open and shut approval:







And I got tired of reading that thread again….folks that care to can do so to see that the list was in favor of approval.

What was happening behind the scenes on the OSI board I cannot say but to say that “the Committee felt that approving such a license would set a dangerous precedent” is a significant overstatement.

The fact remains that CC0 is a widely used Open Source license approved by CC, FSF and the USG.  OSI approval, or lack thereof, has had minimal impact on its use.  John Cowan succinctly made this point in 2012:

"I would, and gladly.  But it wouldn't be CC0.  People are *already* publishing software under CC0, and now they can't even say it's Open Source.  That *sucks*."


ObDis: Speaking for myself and not APL.

On 5/21/19, 12:56 PM, "License-discuss on behalf of Richard Fontana" <license-discuss-bounces at lists.opensource.org on behalf of rfontana at redhat.com> wrote:

    On Tue, May 21, 2019 at 12:30 PM Nicholas Matthew Neft Weinstock

    <nweinsto at qti.qualcomm.com> wrote:


    > OSI does not do so with regards to prospective licenses.  It considers other factors besides the published definition.



    > OSI’s License Review committee was unable to reach consensus on approving CC0,

    The wording in the FAQ you referenced

    (https://opensource.org/faq#cc-zero) is slightly but meaningfully

    different: "the License Review Committee was unable to reach consensus

    that it should be approved". Based on what I recall of the discussion,

    that seems to be a polite way of saying that there was a quickly

    growing consensus that it should be rejected.

    > but not because it failed any element of the OSD (https://opensource.org/faq#cc-zero).

    The sentence "While many open source licenses simply do not mention

    patents, it is exceedingly rare for open source licenses to explicitly

    disclaim any conveyance of patent rights, and the Committee felt that

    approving such a license would set a dangerous precedent, and possibly

    even weaken patent infringement defenses available to users of

    software released under CC0." was written by an OSI board member

    several years ago and may not fully reflect the current view of the

    OSI board; I recommend that they review this FAQ.

    I am not sure if you are doing this intentionally (I notice you are

    writing from a Qualcomm address) but there's nothing in that FAQ that

    suggests that CC0, in the views of the participants in that l-r

    discussion, did *not* think it failed elements of the OSD. Indeed my

    recollection is that some participants in that discussion specifically

    pointed to OSD 7 as a basis for nonconformance of CC0 with the OSD.

    (I don't necessarily disagree with the main point you were making.)



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