[License-discuss] comprehensiveness (or not) of the OSI-approved list
Tzeng, Nigel H.
Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Wed May 22 19:36:03 UTC 2019
On 5/22/19, 10:06 AM, "License-discuss on behalf of Richard Fontana" <license-discuss-bounces at lists.opensource.org on behalf of rfontana at redhat.com> wrote:
> What concerned me, and I remember Carlo noting this as well, was the
> possibility that OSI, or l-r, would treat similar licenses differently
> based on varying sentimental attitudes toward the license submitter.
> Creative Commons, in those days perhaps even more than today, was
> viewed very positively in the open source community. (I feel that
> today there is more distance between the CC and open source
> communities.) The MXM license was associated with MPEG and more
> generally with the controversial topic of media codec patent
> At least from today's perspective, we saw the problem play out a
> couple of years later with the UPL submission. The hostile initial
> reaction to UPL, on l-r and elsewhere, was obviously connected to
> general community hostility towards Oracle, especially during that
I would argue that Microsoft was even more disliked and MS-PL and MS-RL passed review with L-R consensus for approval despite the widespread distrust.
For the most part I assume that everyone on L-R is acting in good faith and are likely more aware of their own biases than most. From what I remember of the Microsoft discussion, folks were going out of their way to not simply reject it out of hand.
UPL also passed and I seem to be quoting John a lot but here goes:
"And yet OSI approved two Microsoft licenses. I had a little bit to do with that, and I defended myself on both Groklaw and Reddit by saying that a license-writer's motives are irrelevant: what counts is the work."
> So you've motivated me to say this: I think OSI should dispense with
> the whole idea that it should passively react to any supposed
> consensus that emerges from license-review. OSI has a responsibility
> to determine whether a license meets the OSD and provides software
> freedom regardless of what direction the l-r discussion is going in.
> One reason for this is the history of inconsistent attitudes on l-r
> towards submitted licenses based apparently on views of the license
I would counter that the 2012 list was much more diverse and engaged than the 2019 list and could be again under the right stewardship. If the 2019 list lacks engagement I would say it's not because of the mailing list format but because of the perception that you and Bruce dominate the L-R list.
We dance around this issue because nobody wants to get personal about things and understand that I do hold you and Bruce in the highest regard. But if we're doing honest root-cause analysis it must be at least examined. You can also note that while I respect you guys that doesn't mean you two don't really piss me off from time to time. But as I said, I assume everyone is acting in good faith and I generally don't look at their mailing address. Most folks participating on L-R and L-D are open source proponents regardless of who they work for.
Changing OSI policy is up to the OSI board...but I think it would be a premature action to dispense with the role of L-R and I believe that historically the L-R list has been quite successful in overcoming submitter bias.
ObDis: Speaking only for myself.
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