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

Richard Fontana richard.fontana at opensource.org
Wed Feb 6 22:39:05 UTC 2019

On Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 5:20 PM Smith, McCoy <mccoy.smith at intel.com> wrote:

> *>>From:* License-review [mailto:
> license-review-bounces at lists.opensource.org] *On Behalf Of *Lawrence Rosen
> *>>Sent:* Wednesday, February 6, 2019 2:11 PM
> *>>To:* 'License submissions for OSI review' <
> license-review at lists.opensource.org>
> *>>Subject:* Re: [License-review] Encouraging discussion around the
> technicalities of licensing
> McCoy Smith wrote:
> > Might be time to adopt [a CoC], just to make clear what behaviors are
> considered inappropriate (such at comments directed at the submitter vs.
> comment directed at the license under consideration,
> >>Remember, the recent discussion about SSPL often veered into debate
> about the MongoDB business model to prevent by copyleft certain types of
> exploitation of their software. Were those comments directed at the
> submitter or at the license? Does that matter, or are we being too
> sensitive? If you mean that *ad hominem* comments are (almost) never
> appropriate, I agree.
> I’m not sure there is **any** license that does not prevent certain types
> of exploitation of the licensed software. Even BSD & MIT require
> preservation of copyright statements and preservation of the license, which
> precludes exploitation by not doing so.
> IMO, the business model of the submitter should be completely immaterial,
> and the license should stand or fall based on whether it conforms to the
> OSD & whether the drafting is sufficiently rigorous and clear.

I lean towards disagreeing with this; I think that the business model of
the license submitter can be a material consideration when assessing
whether the proposed license meets the OSD and would guarantee software
freedom. So I do not consider criticism of a submitter's business model to
be per se inappropriate on license-review (of course I can imagine
situations where it might be comparable to an inappropriate ad hominem

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