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

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun May 26 07:04:27 UTC 2019

Quoting Pamela Chestek (pamela.chestek at opensource.org):

> Larry,
> Thanks for the kudos, I appreciate it.

(Kibbitzing, because not-Larry:)
Much thanks to _you_ for caring and doing the heavy lifting.

As mentioned, I join those in applauding the Board's current goals about
consistenly civil and more-productive discussion, even though I might 
likewise quibble about jumping on mere use of the word 'absurd'.  
Finding the right balance is not only a tricky proposition, but also
requires kaizen-ing, in my experience.

But good point, well taken, that civility, respect, and advancing
discussion is important.  And yes, we may _not_ express opinions any way
we want.

Please pardon a wee bit more pontificating:  I take Board good faith
Board as given, but IMO it's well to be wary of Internet gamesmanship,
that a cynic might imagine being behind _some_ claims of oppression from
some never-identified silent majority[1] or whatever.

I couldn't help noticing that these nebulous complaints emerged
immediately after one or two proposals advanced on l-r with the
obvious attention of -- IMO -- gaming OSI into approving very dubious
alleged open source licences, failed approval with expressions of
great unhappiness and singing from the time-honoured 'OSI has become
irrelevant' hymnbook by agents of business interests wanting to use them
in creative ways that many of us felt violated OSD#6, i.e., to prevent
competitors being on a level play field, as to the use of covered works
and related code in commerce.  (Some will not agree with my
characterisation, which is fine.  I say merely that it's the way I see
things, and doubt I'm alone in this.)

Looking from a jaundiced perspective, sudden 'some l-r regulars were
guilty of bullying during their analyses' complaints look uncomfortably
close to 'some l-r regulars were too inconveniently effective in
pointing out reasons for OSI to not approve our licence'.  

Passive-aggressive attempts to 'get' inconvenient critics have been a
thing, in online media, all of the many decades I've spent online.
All I ask is for the Board to be careful about getting played, that way
I've seen said playbook so many times before, such that I think
I'm now entitled to a 20% frequent-customer discount.

So, when I hear claims that 'those who hold different viewpoints were
afraid to state their difference of opinion', and about 'losing voices'I
cannot help concern about that being (at least from some, and I don't
mean you) a tactical dodge.  Because there are revenues at stake in 
haranguing and special-pleading one's way past licence critics, and
gaming OSI can be a non-trivial business coup.

On another note, my thanks to John Cowan for his citation of FidoNet's 
motto, the one enshrined by my friend Tom Jennings (FidoNet's founder)
in FidoNet's governing POLICY4 document.  (I refer to Tom's evergreen
guideline:  '1) Thou shalt not excessively annoy others.  2) Thou shalt
not be too easily annoyed.')  Truer words, and all that.

-- Rick Moen
   emeritus sysop/owner/builder, 1:125/27 at FidoNet,
   The Skeptic's Board BBS (1988-1994)
   (which ran a 100% free/open source software stack, except for DOS, 
   Qemm, and DesqView).

[1] https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nixon-calls-on-the-silent-majority

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