For Approval: Transitive Grace Period Public Licence, v1.0

Russ Nelson nelson at
Wed Feb 18 04:07:27 UTC 2009

Christopher Schmidt writes:
 > It seems clear to me from watching this list over the past two years
 > that there is a limited relationship between "Meeting the OSD" and
 > "Being approved by OSI".

True.  Unarguable.  Zooko agrees with you, because he already claims
that his software meets the OSD, and yet he wants OSI approval on top
of that.  Whatever is the difference between those two things, it is
something desirable.  Since it's a scarce commodity, we should expect
people to be willing to pay a price to get it (ECON101).

 > because OSI has a policy of encouraging license submitters to not
 > submit licenses which may be similar to existing ones. This is
 > understandable, but given that, I can't (personally) seriously
 > accept that the definition of 'open source' should be limited to a
 > set of licenses that are managed by OSI.

There is a commons here, in the Garret Hardin _Tragedy of the Commons_
sense.  From your perspective, I can agree with you.  Why should you
be limited to a choice of one, two, five, ten, or seventy licenses?
It's no skin off your back if you choose the Chris Schmidt Public
License for your software.  But the problem is that your *users* need
to understand your license, and worse than that, if party A has
responsibility for party B, and they give party B a distribution with
your software as an installation possiblity, party A needs to
understand your license.

And every other license written by every other developer whose
software is in the distribution.

Every little bit of pain you inflict on your users through your choice
of a non-OSI-approved license becomes a big pain in the ass for
someone responsible for the legal compliance of a lot of software.

It's our job to manage the commons.  Sometimes that means saying "no."
It doesn't make you any friends, but it does save the commons from

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