a proposed change to the OSD

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Sun Oct 27 05:20:54 UTC 2002

James E. Harrell, Jr. scripsit:

> I just tried to visit the website to see if BitKeeper's license
> is already OSD approved- but the site isn't there. It's part of my
> argument, so I'll go out on a limb and assume it is OSD approved. If
> not, you can safely ignore part of this email, though it's only half
> of the argument. :)

Bitkeeper's license is not and never has been an OSI-approved Open Source

> I would think it bad faith to change the definition based on a pending
> license in order to be able to specifically exclude this license. This may
> not be the case- but from the (very) outside- that's what it looks like.

On the contrary.  The OSD is an attempt to capture a certain spirit in a
form of words.  If a license is presented that conforms to the form of
words but violates the spirit, it is appropriate to change the form.
This is not ex post facto, because it affects a license proposed for
approval, not one already approved.  In addition, it is not a *punishment*
to be denied license approval.

As to already-approved licenses, they could be grandfathered.

> I don't see significant harm in users indicating consent via click-wrap. 

See my earlier posting.  While this sounds tolerable for individual
applications, it gets difficult for component libraries -- and almost any
program can be a "component" in scripting situations.  And if once-and-for-
all consent is sufficient, who maintains a sufficiently secure consent
database, and when is consent asked for?  On a multi-user system, asking
at installation time is insufficient, for new persons may be added whose
consent must also be extracted.

Use restrictions are a bad idea because they are a *practical* nightmare,
just as notice requirements (if you use my code, you must give notice)
was a practical nightmare.

> Maybe I'm in the wrong place? If click-wrap is specifically excluded,
> then our product and desired license also won't meet the OSD. So maybe
> it will just have to be open source (with a lower case "O" and "S")?

No one can stop you from saying so; the language is free for all to use.
But please don't.  It is disingenuous and will bring you bad publicity.

Deshil Holles eamus.  Deshil Holles eamus.  Deshil Holles eamus.
Send us, bright one, light one, Horhorn, quickening, and wombfruit. (3x)
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  -- Joyce, _Ulysses_, "Oxen of the Sun"       jcowan at reutershealth.com
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