[License-review] License Committee Report

Richard Fontana richard.fontana at opensource.org
Thu Dec 13 07:07:24 UTC 2018

Here's a status update on licenses in review.

The previous License Committee Report ([1], [2]) is incorporated by
reference. I previously noted certain decisions taken by the OSI board
at its November meeting. ([3], [4], [5])

libpng License, version 2.0

See submission [6] (5 November 2018) and subsequent comment from the
license submitter [7].

I re-read the discussion thread more closely than I previously had,
and I found it really quite confusing. If I have things right, Cosmin
has personally written a new simple permissive license that, to a
casual observer, is stylistically reminiscent of the nonstandard
permissive licenses of an earlier era, with a permissions/conditions
part that is based on the zlib license and a disclaimer that is based
on the Boost license, with some wording changes to at least the
zlib-derived part. 431038However, the proposed license is a
concatenation of this new license with a set of legacy license notices
(inviting comparisons to the well-known CPython situation) as well as
a statement about libpng as a trademark and a possibly-false or
misleading statement about OSI certification of an old
version. Confusingly, prepended to the "new" license is a list of
copyright owners, some of whom presumably are not actually granting
the new license.

Cosmin's followup message [7] has a reference to a succession of
"owners" of libpng. I assume that means maintainers, and not copyright
owners, but this is yet another point of confusion for me at least.

Recommendation: No action by OSI, given that it has been less than 60
days since license submission and perhaps there will be further
productive discussion, though I think that's unlikely. However, I
would strongly encourage Cosmin to withdraw this submission and, as
others have suggested, seek legal advice to help this important
project. It seems to me that in this situation OSI approval is not the
most pressing thing for the libpng project to sort out.

Server Side Public License, Version 2

Discussion of SSPLv1 continued in November. On 21-11-2018 Eliot
Horowitz of MongoDB, Inc. submitted a revised version, SSPLv2 [8],
which is being actively discussed. It has been less than 30 days since
this version was submitted and I expect discussion on license-review
to continue.

Recommendation: No action. 

[1] http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-November/003822.html
[2] http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-November/003823.html
[3] http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-December/003854.html
[4] http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-December/003855.html
[5] http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-December/003856.html
[6] http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-November/003791.html
[7] http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-November/003803.html
[8] http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2018-November/003836.html

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