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

Henrik Ingo henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
Sun May 26 17:11:10 UTC 2019

> Once in a while someone here suggests the OSI adopt an official
> de-listing procedure (beyond the existing limited possibility for
> license steward deprecation). I'd like to propose that the OSI board
> reconsider this idea, so that a *very* small number of licenses
> approved earlier in the OSI's history can be reexamined, at the
> initiative of any community member, to see whether they should be
> removed from the approved list, whether because the license was likely
> approved in error, or (and this would probably be even more unusual)
> because software freedom values have evolved sufficiently to make the
> past approval inappropriate today. I realize that adopting a
> de-listing procedure raises its own predictability-related policy
> concerns.

I'd like to suggest as a first step the board could decide to approach
the license stewards of the mentioned two licenses, and ask whether
they are willing to voluntarily retire the licenses. Even if they may
reject such a request, this would already send a signal that appealing
to these licenses as precedent is probably not going to help your case
here. Note that the stewards to these licenses also have an incentive
to agree to a kind request: They could for example motivate voluntary
de-listing with generic license proliferation concerns and avoid a
later public statement by the OSI that their license (and software)
specifically violated OSD all the time.

A second step could then be to move them into a "not recommended"
category, where the OSI acknowledges that software has been released
in good faith as open source under this license, but new software
projects shouldn't consider these licenses, (and we regret our past

To outright de-list an existing license is of course problematic in
many ways. Such action should probably begin with a review with what
software is still released with the license, and who is using
(including re-distributing) that software. As the RPL and APL aren't
considered free by the FSF anyway, I expect that the answer in any
case excludes Linux distributions and users, and may turn out to be a
very small population indeed.

henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
+358-40-5697354        skype: henrik.ingo            irc: hingo

My LinkedIn profile: http://fi.linkedin.com/pub/henrik-ingo/3/232/8a7

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