[License-discuss] Evolving the License Review process for OSI

Richard Fontana rfontana at redhat.com
Sat May 25 12:55:24 UTC 2019

On Fri, May 24, 2019 at 10:52 AM Pamela Chestek
<pamela.chestek at opensource.org> wrote:
> Changes to the Website
> We have also made a minor change to the language describing the license review process on https://opensource.org/approval. The page formerly said “Approve, if (a) there is sufficient consensus emerging from community discussion that approval is justified, and (b) the OSI determines that the license conforms to the Open Source Definition and guarantees software freedom." The page now says “Approve if, after taking into consideration community discussion, the OSI determines that the license conforms to the Open Source Definition and guarantees software freedom.”

This is a good change. I am not sure it is so minor. But I think it
more accurately describes how the OSI has reached, and (as I see it)
should reach its approval decisions.

> License Review Committee
> The License Review Committee is an OSI Board committee made up of the following board members, as of May 2019:
> Pamela Chestek, chair, pamela.chestek at opensource.org
> Elana Hashman, elana.hashman at opensource.org
> Chris Lamb, chris.lamb at opensource.org
> Simon Phipps, webmink at opensource.org
> The License Review Committee will summarize and report the license-review discussions to the Board for the Board’s approval or disapproval of a proposed license. Members of the Committee also serve as moderators for the two mailing lists.

Recently Luis explained that when he was on the OSI board there was a
notion that the License Review Committee was identical with all
participants on the license-review list, and that the list itself was
effectively a board committee. A few participants certainly spoke of
it that way (most recently in Bruce's message). That was never how I
saw it, frankly, even before ~2013, but anyway to the extent this
marks a significant change in how the concept of the License Review
Committee is understood I support this. I'd note that what I have
found frustrating in some of the recent criticism of OSI is what I saw
as a conflation of mailing list discussion with the board itself,
though Luis explained (either here or on Twitter, I can't recall) why
this conflation may have been justified, and I think in his view it
was partly because the mailing list was conceived in some sense as a
board committee.


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