[License-review] New license submission

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Wed May 8 06:04:36 UTC 2013

Hi Chris,

I wrote the rule set that OSI uses to approve licenses in 1997, as a 
policy document of the Debian distribution. Back then, we had only a few 
licenses, and we actually considered it a sort of recognition if a 
company deigned to create an Open Source license.

I did not plan on an embarrassment of riches. And yet, that's what we 
got. Today, there are so many Open Source licenses that it's a serious 
problem to analyze their combinations. Even large companies have trouble 
with this, and it's hardly within the reach of volunteer developer teams 
to handle the legal problem at all. I still work on this problem in both 
commercial and volunteer roles and can testify that they are severe today.

So, had OSI accepted your license, they would have been committing a 
dereliction of duty that would have harmed every Open Source developer, 
simply by increasing the number of licenses.

But you have done something worse to those developers. You submitted 
what we call a "crayon" license, after a Monty Python sketch in which a 
demented character presents a "cat" license with the word "dog" crossed 
out and "cat" written in, in crayon. That description accurately 
portrays your attempt at a license. It did not incorporate any knowledge 
of what the language you used would actually cause if the license ever 
had to be interpreted in court.

I helped to finally win a case for an Open Source developer who 
mistakenly used just that sort of license. He endured 5 years of 
difficulty during the case, severe financial hardship, and came close to 
losing his job due to the other party's action. Don't you dare create a 
license that does that to someone else!

OSI is corrupt and craven, and most of their board members, the ones we 
fortunately don't hear much from here, have no concept of law and 
licensing and no right to be part of the organization. But they've done 
correctly this time. And if Paradise Software and its affiliates can't 
take that well, I will be happy to explain to all comers how silly 
you've been.

Go hire a legal professional who can explain the issues to you.

     Bruce Perens
     One of the founders of the Open Source movement in software

On 5/7/2013 9:57 PM, Chris Jones wrote:
> I have to admit, I am very disappointed with the reaction that we have
> received from the Open Source Initiative upon submission of our new license.
> As at this stage, I am unsure whether I will allow my Organization to
> modify the license to allow commercial sale of software using The
> Freedom Transfer License (FTL). That is simply not what we set out to
> do. And the Open Source Initiative seems unwilling to be reasonable in
> response to this.
> Paradise Software has the full backing and support of a fellow licensing
> organization. We will continue to take under consideration any other
> necessary changes to the license for the review process to
> commence/continue with the Open Source Initiative. But at this current
> stage, it seems the Open Source Initiative is unwilling to support and
> co-operate with a new license submission and we consider the license
> submission rejected.
> Regards
> Chris Jones

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