[License-review] Submission of OSET Public License for Approval

Meeker, Heather J. hmeeker at omm.com
Mon Sep 7 17:30:07 UTC 2015

Thank you Larry, I appreciate your kind words.  We worked hard to put this together.

You ask a good question:   As to whether the OSET license will facilitate more use of open source software in elections -- we hope so, but of course, reasonable people can differ on the most effective way to promote adoption of open source software in this key area.

However -- and, for my own convenience, I am responding here to various other comments on the larger thread -- the question of whether OSET will be successful in promoting its software, or its license, is a different question from whether the license should be approved.  We have done our best to tailor the license to our constituency.  Whether our constituency decides to adopt software under the OSET license, or rejects it, will be determined by various "market" factors in addition to the license -- such as the quality of the software, the political process, and alternative models.  However, the approval of the license should be decided on the merits of the license, and not the likelihood of OSET's success.


From: License-review [mailto:license-review-bounces at opensource.org] On Behalf Of Lawrence Rosen
Sent: Friday, September 04, 2015 4:51 PM
To: 'License submissions for OSI review'; 'CAVO'
Subject: Re: [License-review] Submission of OSET Public License for Approval

There is nobody more qualified than Heather Meeker to shepherd the creation of a new open source license. She's an expert.

Intelligent and serious consideration went into the OSET Public License (OPL). After a detailed review by this OSI license-review@ committee and perhaps some slight modifications by its authors, this license will almost certainly be approved.

What concerns me still, though, is how this new license will be absorbed by the open source community and by election officials around the world. Heather correctly criticized me earlier for arguing that this new license is addressing "a non-existent problem." Actually, it is mostly adding to an existing difficult problem.

David Webber here accurately described "an open source solution stack for a typical voting solution today [that[ includes a whole raft of licenses." Any government agency that intends to acquire an open source election system will inevitably require components such as an operating system, database, printer and scanner drivers, and a main voting software module, presumably under a cornucopia of licenses including Apache, MPL, ECL, GPL, and a whole lot of BSD. We expect FOSS and commercial add-ons that aggregate with that election stuff.

Add to this one more open source license.

We'll also have to wait for all the potentially interested developer foundations and commercial distributors and customers to understand if the new license is compatible with what they are already doing - specifically for derivative works.

Does anyone here believe that a new open source license will cure the existing confusion among government agencies that already engage in FOSS licensing?

As for me, I'm personally rather bored with evaluating (yet another) open source license, so I leave the rest of that fun discussion to everyone else. :-)

Have a great holiday weekend!


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