[License-review] NOSA 2.0 - 'Up or Down' vote

Richard Fontana fontana at opensource.org
Thu Jan 5 20:57:12 UTC 2017

As some know, NOSA 2.0 [1] has been languishing in a limbo review
state for an extremely long time.

In my opinion, NOSA 2.0 is, in its current form, an overly complex and
badly drafted license. I cannot gain enough confidence that it meets
the letter and spirit of the Open Source Definition, without
substantial revision, which the license steward seems disinclined to
undertake. This is just my view and does not reflect any sort of
consensus view, although I am not sure one could really demonstrate a
consensus view on the other side. (It should be noted that Luis Villa,
a former OSI board member and one of my personal heroes, actually did
recommend early on that the OSI approve NOSA 2.0, but this never went
to a vote. [2])

The reason I kept the review alive, in some sense, is twofold. I
thought that we could somehow use this forum to collectively revise
the license, but that did not work, in part because of the high
complexity of the license. (This forum is by contrast not too bad at
dealing with the more typical shorter, simpler license texts.) I also
believed for a long time that it was contrary to de facto OSI policy
to reject a license outright, as opposed to gently directing the
license submitter to go back to the drawing board. I later discovered
that outright license rejection, though it seems to have been uncommon
if it occurred at all in the past several years, was sometimes done
earlier in the OSI's history.

A number of people, including the license steward and submitter, have
asked at various times out of understandable frustration that there be
an 'up or down' vote on NOSA 2.0 rather than a continuation of the
current situation. There is an OSI board meeting next Wednesday. I
will place the 'up or down' vote on the agenda, and (with reluctance)
I will recommend that the vote be 'down' out of concern for the
integrity of the OSD and the license approval process. It is
conceivable that the OSI board will wish to treat NOSA 2.0 in some
manner other than 'up or down' though.

If anyone has comments on NOSA 2.0 that they'd like the OSI board to
consider please provide them before next Wednesday.


[1] See e.g.:
(original submission)

[2] https://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review/2013-October/001999.html

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