[License-review] Creation of License List Working Group

Pamela Chestek pamela.chestek at opensource.org
Sat Jul 4 23:15:21 UTC 2020

The OSI, under the auspices of the License Committee, will be evaluating 
whether the current list of licenses is as comprehensive as it should 
be. It may be that a combination of factors, including a) how licenses 
are selected for review, b) the desire to ensure that approved licenses 
meet a minimum standard of quality, and c) a desire to discourage 
license proliferation, may have prevented some suitable licenses from 
obtaining OSI approval. This creates ambiguity about whether some 
licenses are or are not open source licenses.

The mission of the License List Working Group is to find ways to ensure 
that the OSI’s license list is appropriately comprehensive while also 
continuing to encourage the use of a smaller set of well-known, 
well-understood licenses. The work is likely to include:

  * Reevaluating the criteria for approving licenses, potentially
    setting different standards for licenses in use versus new licenses
  * Reevaluating the process for considering licenses for approval,
    including whether the OSI should itself nominate licenses for approval
  * Reevaluating the current categories for licenses, including how they
    are used and their usefulness
  * Evaluating whether there should be a process for decertifying
    licenses, and what the process and standards would be for the process

This Working Group will not be investigating or evaluating whether the 
Open Source Definition should be revised. That project is likely to 
require a different assortment of participants than this proposed 
Working Group, so a review of the OSD is more appropriately undertaken 

The Working Group will solicit input from the community, both individual 
and corporate, in fulfilling its task.

If you are interested in participating in the Working Group, please 
contact License Committee chair Pamela Chestek at 
pamela.chestek at opensource.org. Describe why you are interested in 
participating and a brief summary of your background and qualifications 
for the role. The intent is to have a fairly small working group that 
can work efficiently, with members who are willing to contribute 
significant time to the project. There is also a desire for 
representation from different interests, including individual, 
for-profit and nonprofit entities, different legal jurisdictions, and 
lawyers and non-lawyers.

Announcement also at: 


Pamela Chestek
License Committee Chair
Open Source Initiative
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