[License-review] Outstanding license submissions

Richard Fontana fontana at opensource.org
Wed Mar 16 22:41:27 UTC 2016

On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 06:01:27PM +0000, Bryan Geurts wrote:
> Hi Richard,

> It's me again - the squeaky wheel, trying to get the NOSA 2.0
> license approval greased.  At this point, I honestly don't know what
> to do.  I had great hopes when you again began moving things forward
> last month (even if it was extremely frustrating to have you begin
> again de novo your review of NOSA 2.0 after two years of
> consideration).  However, that hope has been in vain (again) as the
> only comments you made were simply not substantive in nature and do
> not merit a response.  (For example, "COMMENT: I have the feeling
> that the attempted comprehensiveness of this definition leads to
> problems."  What problems?)

Sorry Bryan, I had some additional comments I meant to post but got
caught up in other things.

> 1.  We are frustrated because the ten NASA Field Centers have
> collectively dozens of OSS packages that have not yet been released
> to the public because NOSA 2.0 has not yet been approved by OSI.
> This includes important software that has applications in numerous
> science and technical communities, all of which are deprived of the
> benefit of this software because of a license.  Moreover, we have
> numerous NASA scientists and engineers who are becoming disenchanted
> with the process of releasing OSS to the public and consequently are
> withdrawing their cooperation as we work through the release
> process.

Bryan, isn't this to some degree because NASA's policies on software
licensing and open source are too restrictive? Obviously you can use
NOSA 1.3, though I understand why you want to upgrade it. Is there
truly no other OSI-approved license NASA will permit its engineers to

> 2.    We are wondering if the OSI approval process is worth the effort.  We have been responsive to every inquiry and comment that needed a reply, and yet we appear to be in the same place we were two years ago when we started the process.  While OSI approval is desirable, perhaps we need to rethink our approach.  Ironically, the first time we sought and received approval for NOSA 1.3 the entire approval process only took a few weeks.  Pardon the pun, but his is NOT rocket 

> 3.    We are wondering if there is a reason certain OSI board members appear to be against the approval of NOSA 2.0.  How else can the stonewalling and feet dragging be explained?

I *am* against the approval of NOSA 2.0 in its current form. I suppose
I should have made that clear. Also as far as I know that is not the
view of anyone else on the OSI board (though I don't believe anyone
else on the OSI board believes that it *should* be approved).

I do not wish to be responsible for the OSI approving a license that
fails the Open Source Definition.

What I've been trying to find the time to do is to (a) make sure that
I'm not wrong about what concerns me about the license; (b) decide
whether that concern is really an OSD-conformance concern (and if not,
whether that still suggests that it should not be approved); (c) try
to suggest the minimum possible changes that would address those
possible deficiencies; (d) make sure there is nothing else in the
license that is problematic that I overlooked.

> The fact that there has been no up-down vote by the board in two years (at least to my knowledge) is telling.  If this is the case, we would welcome an open and frank conversation about the issues.

Agreed, that was what I have intended to happen.

> 4.    We are wondering about the standard of review for the approval process.  Of course, the basic standard is the Open Source Definition, which we have scrupulously adhered to in crafting NOSA 2.0.  (I note here that the very few comments that were made based upon the OSD standard were made early in this two year process and were successfully addressed.)  Most of the comments, especially recent comments, seem to be stylistic in nature.  Is the literary merit of NOSA 2.0 really what is holding it up?

No, my concerns are not stylistic. I have at least one major
substantive concern, which I think may be the result of a drafting
error: NASA does not seem to grant any patent licenses under this
license (but all licensees are required to grant patent licenses). I
have a draft email explaining this. If that is *intentional* then
perhaps we should discuss that before moving forward. It is possible I
am misinterpreting the license but that probably suggests the license
is insufficiently clear. 

Anyway, thanks for the ping: I am trying to find time to address this.


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