[License-review] Encouraging discussion around the technicalities of licensing

Smith, McCoy mccoy.smith at intel.com
Wed Feb 6 20:46:50 UTC 2019

>>From: License-review [mailto:license-review-bounces at lists.opensource.org] On Behalf Of Simon Phipps
>>Sent: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 8:47 AM
>>To: License submissions for OSI review <license-review at lists.opensource.org>
>>Subject: Re: [License-review] Encouraging discussion around the technicalities of licensing

>>Many thanks for your comments, Martijn.

On Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 10:04 AM Martijn Verburg <martijnverburg at gmail.com<mailto:martijnverburg at gmail.com>> wrote:
Hi all,

*Background Disclaimer* - I sit on a fair number of industry body boards, community groups, steering committees etc around the Java ecosystem - so I'm biased in how I perceive communication.

I’m a newcomer to this list and I’ve mostly been in ‘read-only’ mode so I can figure out what the list norms are. There is one aspect that I feel as a collective we could do a little better on, I'll try to explain below.

I’ve seen some really excellent messages and threads clearly explaining why a license proposal fails a particular OSD clause. It’s been truly insightful stuff and it's the sort of communication that really makes the OSI stand out as an entity!

I’ve also seen quite a fair bit of emotive/hostile language used, even against folks who are new here and come in good faith (yes I feel we should assume good faith in the first instance). I understand why OSS licensing and discussions around software freedoms bring out strong feelings, these topics *matter* and have far-reaching impacts on our industry and even (dare I say it) our society as a whole.

I’d very much like to see the OSI continue to be held in high regard, whose members defend the OSD principles with reasoned arguments and even offer guidance to license authors on how they can meet those principles. I think if we focus on that in this list we'll get better long term results for the OSI and the defense of the OSD clauses.

Right, now that I've committed the mailing list sin of the newcomer telling everyone how to behave.... :-) - I'll happily take comments/questions/feedback and even some sticks and stones ;-).


>>I agree; the list is for discussing the approval of the license and not for the approval of the submitter or their business. We welcome comments that help the submitter know how to correct defects in the text, or to understand why their goals >>cannot achieve the effect they are seeking with the license while still creating an OSD-compliant license. We also welcome comments that support the text as OSD compliant. Comments aimed at the submitter alone, such as about their >>business, business model or investors, are rarely appropriate.

>>Best regards,

>>Simon Phipps, President, The Open Source Initiative

Might it be a good idea to publish a code of conduct for posting on the various mailing lists?  CoCs were a topic of several discussions during FOSDEM & CopyleftConf.  I don’t see one on the OSI website.  Might be time to adopt one, just to make clear what behaviors are considered inappropriate (such at comments directed at the submitter vs. comment directed at the license under consideration, plus basic guidelines on what tone and language is considered improper).
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