[License-discuss] [License-review] Evolving the License Review process for OSI
lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Mon May 27 00:43:23 UTC 2019
Bruce Perens wrote:
> The fact is, you can do essentially all Open Source with three licenses, and two of them are very short. They are all compatible with each other, they all allow a passive user to do what they want without having a lawyer, and they are all protective of the developer community and have explicit patent terms. Encouraging the community to use a single strategic licensing plan would be better for everyone. But OSI has never seen fit to be that strategic and actively guide the community. If anything is to make OSI irrelevant, that will be it.
Bruce, I DO respect you. Indeed, I have encouraged your participation in various ways in the open source community, from the very first time I met you at the first OSCON in the early days of OSI all the way to the present. But when you assert that "three licenses" are enough for open source, then you are being uninformed, ill-trained, and destructive.
> I am an un-degreed communication arts major who has taken neither computer science nor law courses.
This has become obvious. Neither will I allow you to practice medicine, despite your eagerness to make everyone well. Please admit that those of us who are trained, who are both computer scientists and lawyers, who have (like you) been generous and constructive to the open source community, disagree with you VERY strongly on this point.
Yes, OSI must do more to educate the public, but your remarks make our community stupid.
By the way, I have held this position publicly for many years. None of this is ad hominem; none is directed to you as an individual, but only as to your repetitive and dangerous ideas. Please give the rest of us some credit for knowing a bit about what we speak and for having well-thought goals for open source. That doesn't necessarily make us right, but your "assertiveness, technical competence, and being a decent communicator" certainly doesn't make you right either.
I'm trying not to write too much to these lists because there is too much chatter here already, and almost everyone already knows what I believe. But you force me to speak out because you frustrate me. I would much rather give VERY competent lawyers and computer specialists like Pam Chestek and Richard Fontana and McCoy Smith and Luis Villa and Kyle Mitchell and Van Lindberg and Scott Peterson and others an opportunity to transform OSI in ways that I wasn't able to in the period when I was its general counsel and executive director. There are younger and smarter people here now. Let them work!
> I have spared the group my entire lecture....
Thank you for that.
From: License-review <license-review-bounces at lists.opensource.org> On Behalf Of Bruce Perens via License-review
Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2019 4:45 PM
To: Tzeng, Nigel H. <Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu>
Cc: Bruce Perens <bruce at perens.com>; License submissions for OSI review <license-review at lists.opensource.org>; license-discuss at lists.opensource.org
Subject: Re: [License-review] Evolving the License Review process for OSI
On Sun, May 26, 2019 at 11:31 AM Tzeng, Nigel H. <Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu <mailto:Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu> > wrote:
That said, I don’t believe that stating my perception that you two dominate the list is ad-hom.
Perhaps not, but I am really at a loss regarding what to do with "you dominate the group". I am an assertive person who has domain expertise. Being assertive and having domain expertise should not be any sort of offense. I may have some additional credibility due to history, but I am an un-degreed communication arts major who has taken neither computer science nor law courses and I am innumerate by the standards of this crowd. That I got into Pixar, and became Debian project leader, and co-founded OSI, and all of the other stuff is due to some combination of assertiveness, technical competence, and being a decent communicator. It is not anything anyone else here could not have done.
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.
So, I'm frustrated over government Open Source too. I went out to NASA Goddard and spoke with the researchers, and they are certainly not calling for the odd licenses, they choose the most accepted ones when allowed to do so. We own this government, and the work done is with our taxes. We should have the maximal utility available from the code. I find it difficult to understand how that justifies things like a government attorney finding new ways to contractually restrict the public domain. There is certainly no national security issue involved.
Corporations have lawyers who want things their way, too. They have for the most part been more cooperative in coming to reasonable terms than the government we own.
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.
This is all about OSI doing something they have so far resisted, which is encouraging people to use some licenses and not others. We have no force stronger than marking a license "legacy" at present.
The fact is, you can do essentially all Open Source with three licenses, and two of them are very short. They are all compatible with each other, they all allow a passive user to do what they want without having a lawyer, and they are all protective of the developer community and have explicit patent terms. Encouraging the community to use a single strategic licensing plan would be better for everyone. But OSI has never seen fit to be that strategic and actively guide the community. If anything is to make OSI irrelevant, that will be it.
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.
I have spared the group my entire lecture on why I stopped working on Open Hardware licenses because they extend copyright in ways that would ultimately harm us. I sympathize with you and Russell Ormond and any number of other folks on this issue and will continue to lead upon it.
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