[License-review] License Committee Report

Richard Fontana fontana at sharpeleven.org
Sun Sep 6 21:39:29 UTC 2015

This is my report for licenses currently submitted to OSI, though it
doesn't address certain old submissions that were noted in
"Outstanding license submissions" other than NOSA 2.0.[1]

If anyone disagrees with my assessment of the list's comments or
conclusions, please change the subject line to be specific to the
license you want to discuss. There is an OSI board meeting on
September 9, so ideally such disagreements would be voiced before
then, but I realize this is short notice. As will be clear I am not
recommending approval of any outstanding submitted license at this

NASA Open Source Agreement (NOSA) 2.0

First submission: https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review/2013-June/000610.html


There were some concerns about whether the government-agency-optional
3K 'request to register' provision was optional with respect to the
licensee. Bryan Geurts (license steward) indicated that "this step is
entirely voluntary". (https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review/2013-July/000636.html)

Luis Villa's License Committee Report dated 2013-10-09 recommended
approval, noting "it appears that no substantive concerns about
OSD-compliance have been raised".

I subsequently raised certain concerns about the license
in particular 3F (anti-endorsement provision) and 3J (patent and
copyright termination). I asserted that otherwise, while the license
could be made clearer, existing non-clarity did not seem to rise to
the level of OSD-noncompliance.

The OSI Board did not consider NOSA 2.0 at its November 2013 board
meeting or any subsequent board meeting.

Bryan Geurts responded to my points several months later
and still later to some followup comments of mine regarding the
anti-endorsement provision
in which he offered to tweak the language to address my concern about
the overbreadth of the provision. There was no further discussion.

A couple of months later, Bryan resubmitted the license for approval:
The only response was by Josh Berkus who said he was satisfied with
the license as a member of "the developer wing"

A few months after that, Bryan contacted the OSI Board to inquire
about the license submission. At that time, I wrote to Bryan,
apologizing for the extensive delay and expressing hope that the
license could be considered by the Board at an upcoming board
meeting. As was evident in my "Outstanding license submissions" email
in June, I planned on writing something to license-review specifically
about NOSA 2.0. But when I took a fresh look at the license, I found
features that concerned me that I must have overlooked before.

Recommendation: I hate to say it but I can't recommend approval of
NOSA 2.0 in its current form. I recommend that there be further review
and analysis and discussion, with, perhaps, actual submission of
revised drafts of the license, perhaps in conjunction with the Free
Software Foundation (which, remember, declared NOSA 1.3 to violate the
Free Software Definition -- I wouldn't want a repeat of that
disagreement). Merely having further discussion on this mailing list
may not be the best way forward.


Submission (said to be for legacy approval, but this may not be an
appropriate characterization since the submitter revised the license
text during the course of the list discussion): https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review/2015-June/001004.html


Several people raised concerns that the 'reportware' provision was
OSD-noncompliant, but it was pointed out that the provision was one of
two alternative conditions. The license submitter posted a revised
license text clarifying this point
(https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review/2015-July/001032.html). Simon
Phipps argued that the license was effectively OSD-noncompliant
because in some situations it would not be possible to choose the
alternative path

Josh Berkus was +1 for legacy approval.

I raised a late concern about the broad indemnification clause, which
I had previously overlooked

Recommendation: Await response from license submitter regarding
indemnification provision (alternatively, perhaps there should be
general discussion about the issue of when an indemnification
provision goes too far for a license to be open source). No further
action at this time.

Non-Coercive Copyleft License (NCCL) 1.0

Submission: https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review/2015-July/001039.html

Comments: Discussion on license-review was generally quite
negative. License submitter appears to have withdrawn the submission

Recommendation: Treat the submission as having been withdrawn.

Free Public License 1.0.0

Submission: https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review/2015-August/001104.html

Comments: Discussion is ongoing.

Recommendation: No recommendation at this time. 

OSET Public License

Submission: https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review/2015-September/001110.html

Comments: Discussion is ongoing.

Recommendation: No recommendation at this time.


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