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

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Sun May 26 18:30:14 UTC 2019

I hope and believe that i have not engaged in any ad-hom attacks.  If I have then I apologize.

That said, I don’t believe that stating my perception that you two dominate the list is ad-hom.

My issue and frustration has been the lack of acceptance that GOSS has its own needs and that special purpose licenses are a category where these needs can be safely met without necessarily setting precedence for other open source domains.

The call for de-listing existing licenses also makes me very uncomfortable as most likely the special purpose licenses are the ones that will get targeted.

It is true that I am much more pro-developer vs pro-user in as much as I lean toward permissive licenses providing more developer freedom and less interested in further extending the bounds of copyleft which curtails developer freedom.



ObDis speaking only for myself.

Sent with BlackBerry Work

From: Bruce Perens via License-review <license-review at lists.opensource.org<mailto:license-review at lists.opensource.org>>
Date: Friday, May 24, 2019, 9:16 PM
To: License submissions for OSI review <license-review at lists.opensource.org<mailto:license-review at lists.opensource.org>>
Cc: Bruce Perens <bruce at perens.com<mailto:bruce at perens.com>>, license-discuss at lists.opensource.org <license-discuss at lists.opensource.org<mailto:license-discuss at lists.opensource.org>>
Subject: Re: [License-review] Evolving the License Review process for OSI

The complaint which spurred this action was ad-hominem in nature, and this continues to be the case. Let's please not try to hide that it's directed squarely at me, except that we have just for the first time had Nigel complain that Richard Fontana also dominated the mailing list in 2012. Let's also be clear what the action is: I, and others, have today been ejected from the license committee.

I believe the main offense I've committed is being a vigorously participating authority on the matter of the OSD and Open Source licensing. OSI has been eager to make use of this authority where it is convenient to them, and currently has me representing their organization to the European Union government and global industry.

OSI is increasingly being pressured to adopt licenses with a common anti-user theme. As an individual, I believe it's important to push back against such licenses, and that they should be disapproved on the basis of the OSD and Software Freedom.  As an investor in a significant number of Open Source companies, both individually and on behalf of my employer, I also have a legitimate interest to represent in keeping the terms of Open Source close to those which led to its success and are essential for its continued success.

Discussion of the last license reviewed easily topped an arbitrary number which, I am told, repels people from participation. There naturally will be need for further discussion when the license submitter is incomplete in their responses, ignores issues, or presents them in the light most favorable to their client, which are all things we can expect. Thus, I reject such arbitrary counts.

A board member, perhaps acting as an interim moderator, recently dinged me for using the word "absurd". This is the only moderation communication I have received this year. I have been an eager participant in implementing codes of conduct on Open Source projects, and am not clear just what part of the code that one falls under. Separately from codes, collegiality obviously has value, and should be maintained, but I would not have though that one non-collegial.

I am having trouble valuing the complaints of the so-far-non-participants when their main distinguishing characteristic is that they don't participate. If OSI is changing the policy, OSI will need to show that people with diverse viewpoints actually participate to a greater extent than they did before - not that discussion is globally reduced.



On Fri, May 24, 2019 at 7:51 AM Pamela Chestek <pamela.chestek at opensource.org<mailto:pamela.chestek at opensource.org>> wrote:
The directors of the board of the Open Source Initiative recognize the process for discussion and review of new licenses proposed for approval by the organization can use improvement and would benefit from evolution. In particular, it does not appear as though all points of view on open source licensing are represented in the discussion here. To address this situation we have created a Board Committee for license approval to evaluate responses on-list, appointed more moderators, and will devise a new moderation strategy.

We anticipate that the effort to improve the quality of discussion on the license lists will be an iterative process. This email describes our first step, which is to approach the community and elicit feedback on this approach. We anticipate further steps including a review of tools, but we’re not yet at that stage.

License review vs. License discuss lists

License-review at lists.opensource.org<mailto:License-review at lists.opensource.org> is the email address for submitting a license for which you seek OSI approval following the process at https://opensource.org/approval. The list is open to the public, so anyone can give their opinion about a license. The OSI License Committee considers the viewpoints expressed on the license-review list in making its license approval recommendation to the OSI Board. Since the purpose of the list is to inform the Committee and the Board, discussion of substantive issues off-list is not recommended. If a license submitter elects to respond to a substantive question submitted to them off-list, the submitter is encouraged to copy the license-review list also on their response after redacting the identity of the person sending the communication.

License-discuss at lists.opensource.org<mailto:License-discuss at lists.opensource.org> is for general questions about open source licenses and for licenses in early stage development. The list is open to the public and anyone can give feedback. A moderator may decide that a license submitted to license-review isn’t sufficiently developed and will move it to license-discuss for additional work. We recommend that you carry out your license development process on a publicly viewable venue (preferably one where collaboration is also possible) and regularly seek views on license-discuss. Note that agreement on license-discuss does not guarantee agreement on license-review, as the audiences differ.

The board recognizes that the license-review mailing list would benefit from further, more concerted moderation, both to ensure appropriate conversation and to maintain the pace of discussions. This more concerted process will evolve in the following steps:

  *   We will develop rules to encourage wider participation. We perceive that some are discouraged from participating because of offensive tone, frequency, or repetitiveness of messages. We will develop moderation standards to address these hurdles.
  *   A moderator will also advance the conversation, by following up with the license steward on unanswered questions and ensuring that all topics of interest have been fully fleshed out.
  *   We will assure observance of the Code of Conduct for the mailing lists, available at: https://opensource.org/codeofconduct/licensing.

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.”

We have also clarified the timing of the review decision.

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<mailto:pamela.chestek at opensource.org>
Elana Hashman, elana.hashman at opensource.org<mailto:elana.hashman at opensource.org>
Chris Lamb, chris.lamb at opensource.org<mailto:chris.lamb at opensource.org>
Simon Phipps, webmink at opensource.org<mailto: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.

What We’re Asking
Let us know what you think of these changes.


Pamela Chestek
Chair, License Review Committee
Open Source Initiative

License-review mailing list
License-review at lists.opensource.org<mailto:License-review at lists.opensource.org>

Bruce Perens - Partner, OSS.Capital<http://OSS.Capital>.
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