[License-review] License drafting quality and process [was Re: Comment on MOSL and similar licenses]

Richard Fontana fontana at sharpeleven.org
Thu Jun 6 12:36:22 UTC 2013

On Thu, Jun 06, 2013 at 12:34:08PM +0200, Patrice-Emmanuel Schmitz wrote:
> Another suggestion would be to deliver more rapidly a simple "certificate of
> OSD compliance" which would be a first step. OSI approval would be given only
> as a second step, i.e. once the steward bring the evidence (names + URLs) that
> a minimum number of projects (100, 250, 500?) are published under his license.

I agreed with a good deal of your first suggestion (snipped) but not
with this one. Requiring evidence of 100+ projects using a proposed
license will have the same chilling effect against further reform and
evolution of open source licensing. 

There is a bit of a chicken/egg problem, as the absence of OSI
approval may significantly deter projects *independent of the steward*
from choosing the new license. Indeed this is a primary reason why the
OSI remains a socially influential organization. The likely result is
that the only new licenses that will be submitted for review are
updates of already-approved licenses associated with well-established
FLOSS organizations, or else, perhaps, new or updated licenses
introduced by sufficiently powerful non-FLOSS institutions with the
ability to mandate mass adoption of some particular new license (as,
for example, by legislative or regulatory fiat).

- RF

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