[License-review] Outstanding license submissions

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Thu Mar 17 15:50:14 UTC 2016

As a NOSA 1.3 software user, from a personal perspective, the lack of OSI
approval for NOSA 2.0 would not impact my adoption of NOSA 2.0 software.
>From an institutional perspective I believe we run any new licenses past
legal (at least I have) when we first use them.  I don¹t believe that OSI
approval is a required element in determination of suitability although I
would assume that it makes the evaluation process easier.  The nuances
between various copyleft and patent grants approaches typically should
require legal evaluation in terms of impact anyway.

If field centers have software of use to the wider scientific and
engineering community I would survey current NOSA 1.3 users and see if
NOSA 2.0 not being OSI approved would have any significant impact on
adoption.  My guess is many, if not most, would rather have access to the
software than OSI approval.  Especially if NASA has worked in good faith
with the OSI in getting NOSA 2.0 approved but has been obstructed by one

Richard, my personal opinion is either get the broad support to require
patent grants as OSD 11 or stop holding up a copyright license for years
because of related but separate IP concerns.  Especially one that is
categorized as a special purpose license anyway.


On 3/16/16, 6:41 PM, "License-review on behalf of Richard Fontana"
<license-review-bounces at opensource.org on behalf of
fontana at opensource.org> wrote:

>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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