[License-discuss] [License-review] Please rename "Free Public License-1.0.0" to 0BSD... again.

Richard Fontana fontana at sharpeleven.org
Mon Apr 5 14:54:25 UTC 2021

On Mon, Apr 5, 2021 at 9:22 AM Rob Landley <rob at landley.net> wrote:
> In 2018 OSI held a vote to rename 0BSD (not dual-name it):
> http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-November/003830.html
> The license both shipped in Android M and was approved as Zero Clause BSD by
> SPDX before it was ever submitted to OSI under a different name. The person who
> submitted it to OSI under another name is on record as not minding calling it
> 0BSD, he just wants to see it used. Kirk McKusick has approved calling it Zero
> Clause BSD:
>   https://landley.net/toybox/0bsd-mckusick.txt
> A single OSI board member came to the SPDX mailing list in 2015 to defend OSI's
> conflicting position, and was denied by SPDX. That same OSI board member was the
> main voice objecting to the discussion here in 2018 when I raised the issue of
> acknowledging the license's original name and conforming to SPDX.
> After his position was voted down, he continued to publicly disagree with the
> results after the vote:
> http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-November/003831.html

This was mostly accurate until the last part. I was the "single OSI
board member" you're talking about. As I recall, while I (and some
others on license-review) had some reservations, after discussing the
issue with the person who submitted the license under the other name,
*I* recommended to the board that the board approve the name change to
Zero-Clause BSD. My position was never "voted down" -- my position was
the one you advocated for.

> At the time I assumed this board member was the one who memorialized the dispute
> with a single "yeah but" note in OSI's 0BSD page:
> https://web.archive.org/web/20181219001235/https://opensource.org/licenses/0BSD

For those who don't want to bother with the link, it says:
[begin quote]
Zero-Clause BSD

SPDX short identifier: 0BSD

Note: Despite its name, Zero-Clause BSD is an alteration of the ISC
license, and is not textually derived from licenses in the BSD family.
Zero-Clause BSD was originally approved under the name "Free Public
License 1.0.0".
[end quote]

> I noted at the time that this struck me as problematic, but chose not to raise
> the issue here because letting this person "have the last word" seemed prudent:
>   https://landley.net/notes-2018.html#14-11-2018
> Unfortunately, since then someone has changed OSI's page to put the deadname as
> a prominent dual name, in boldface next to the official name and also in the
> page title:
>   https://opensource.org/licenses/0BSD
> Which was then propagated back to wikipedia:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=BSD_licenses&type=revision&diff=1007661505&oldid=1007656464
> Could someone please point me to where in the archives this issue was raised
> again and voted on again to change the name back without notifying me the issue
> was once again in dispute?

So, to be clear, what happened is that the heading "Zero-Clause BSD"
apparently got changed to "Zero-Clause BSD / Free Public License
1.0.0". It's not clear when this happened. I left the OSI board at the
end of March 2019 (and also ceased having access to edit the OSI
website). I don't *think* I would have made this change without
remembering it, nor can I think of why I would have wanted to make
such a change. I had come to be firmly in support of having
"Zero-Clause BSD" be the single name for the license in question.

> If there wasn't a second vote changing the name again, and "0BSD" is still the
> acknowledged name for it, could OSI please remove all mention of the no longer
> relevant name from the 0BSD page? It does not need a "historical" mention
> because it was not what the license was called when it was created and is not
> what the license is called now. It does nothing but cause market confusion (Free
> as in Free Software Foundation, on the GPL side of GPL-vs-BSD axis, it must be
> REALLY viral), and apparently if we don't remove all of this tumor it metastasizes.

I would agree that there is no longer any need for a "historical"
mention (in the form of that "Note") because as you say it "is not
what the license is called now." Back when the name was changed, it
was in my view appropriate to have the note explaining the earlier
(from the OSI website perspective) name.

I'd still weakly support the OSI retaining the first sentence in the
note that says "Despite its name, Zero-Clause BSD is an alteration of
the ISC license, and is not textually derived from licenses in the BSD
family". I guess I'm seeing it as equivalent to calling MIT No
Attribution (https://opensource.org/licenses/MIT-0) "BSD No
Attribution" -- surely a lot of people would be annoyed by that. But
I'll grant you that more people today would be bothered by using the
"BSD" label for a license textually derived from the MIT license than
by using the "BSD" label for a license textually derived from the ISC
license, and that there's a slightly greater historical justification
for the latter. And, ultimately, most people probably don't care and
just want a convenient way to refer to the license.

> P.S. My apologies if I come off a tad frustrated.

I appreciate the apology!

 - R

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