[License-review] Approval: Server Side Public License, Version 1 (SSPL v1)

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Sat Oct 20 19:28:55 UTC 2018

On Sat, Oct 20, 2018 at 11:20 AM Nigel T <nigel.2048 at gmail.com> wrote:

Having thought more about this and the way that the SSPL FAQ reads I would
> recommend that the OSI continue to evaluate whether SSPL violates the OSD
> even if withdrawn.  And if it does, to make it clear that it does violate
> the OSD.

As far as I know (which is pretty far), the OSI doesn't do that.  They have
never publicly said "License X is not open source."  People on various
mailing lists have done so, but not the OSI as such.  And they certainly
don't say "Any license not on our OSI Certified (tm) list is not open
source", because that would be false.  It's easy to write a license that is
obviously open source that the OSI would never certify for any of a variety
of reasons.

> Otherwise their SSPL FAQ would read like the CC0 FAQ in that it was
> submitted but later withdrawn but they believe it to meet the OSD and
> therefore implies it is open source since it was never explicitly rejected.

The OSI chose not to certify CC0 before it was withdrawn. Neither the
refusal nor the withdrawal means that CC0 is not an open-source license.
Nothing says the OSI has to certify all open source licenses submitted to
it.  They are the stewards of the OSD, but not the final word on whether a
license does or does not conform to it, either.  In fact, there is no final

> SSPL does not appear likely to pass but Mongo has already switched to it
> and implies it is open source even before the 60 days have run out partly
> under the “we submitted it to the OSI” banner.

That's a fact, however misleading, like the use of "B.A. Oxon (failed)"
during the British Raj. It was worth something for Indians to say they had
gotten into Oxford, even if they hadn't actually gotten the degree.

> That’s NOT operating in good faith as an “open source company”.  Which
> isn’t in their core values page anyway.

Well, you can't say they aren't "going far" (which is there)

John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
Go, and never darken my towels again!
        --Rufus T. Firefly
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