[License-discuss] discussion of L-R process [was Re: [License-review] Approval: Server Side Public License, Version 2 (SSPL v2)]

Mike Milinkovich mike.milinkovich at opensource.org
Fri Mar 15 20:36:54 UTC 2019

On 2019-03-15 3:16 p.m., Bruce Perens wrote:
> McCoy, you aren't really talking about the decision process at all. 
> This list is advisory. The OSI board votes, and we receive no tally 
> naming directors and their votes yay or nay, nor their rationale for 
> voting as they did. This makes it difficult for us to determine how we 
> should vote for OSI directors, since we have no idea how they actually 
> vote in office, or whether they actually read license-review at all. 
> Some seem to, but they almost all lurk 100% of the time and we have no 
> idea how they actually feel.
> The OSI board is under no compulsion to listen to me or anyone else 
> who doesn't have a vote on the board.

I am not on the OSI Board any longer, but I think I can add a little 
color to this. Simply put in my 6 years on the Board my recollection is 
that virtually all of the licensing-related votes were unanimous[1]. 
There is no requirement in the Bylaws that the votes be so, but I do 
think there is a sense that if there is a major split within the Board 
that perhaps the license needs additional analysis. An example of that 
was the resolution clearly stating a logjam on the NOSA 2.0[2].

The only one where two directors abstained (to the best of my 
recollection) was the UPL[3], which was somewhat controversial at the 
time. And I think the votes are actually relatively well documented as 
you can see from the snippets below.

My personal opinion and recollection is that there isn't any conscious 
intention to hide vote choices. Perhaps the minute taking could be 
improved, but I actually think it's pretty clear who voted and how.

I would also point out that not everyone on the OSI Board is a licensing 
expert. There are a variety of motivations to want to volunteer your 
time to the OSI Board. For example, while I consider myself of middling 
competence on legal issues, my main contribution was to help raise the 
level of corporate sponsorship.

I do think that it was helpful to have lawyers on the board, and I 
certainly learned a lot from folks like Richard Fontana and Luis Villa 
when I was there.

[1] From https://opensource.org/minutes2017FallF2F

    *Motion (Richard):* Approve W3C Software and Document License (2015)*
    Second (Deb).
    Vote:* 10 Yes; 0 No; 0 Abstain; 1 Not Present [I was the one outside
    of the room at the time of the vote, which is noted elsewhere in the

[2] From https://opensource.org/minutes2017FallF2F

    *Motion (Richard):* Adopt the following resolution: /Resolved,/
    That, in view of the length, complexity, and ambiguities in the
    submitted drafts of the NASA Open Source Agreement version 2.0, it
    is the opinion of the OSI that the conformance of NOSA 2.0 to the
    OSD cannot be assured. OSI thus can neither approve nor reject the
    license, and NASA is invited to submit a new draft of NOSA for
    consideration by the OSI.*
    Second (Carol):
    Vote:* 11 Yes; 0 No; 0 Abstain.

[3] From https://opensource.org/minutes20150204

    *Motion (Simon):* Approve the Universal Permissive License (UPL)
    license subject to the clarification of the language discussed.
    *Second (Bruno).*
    *Discussion:* Had several discussions with Oracle representatives
    and community. Board agreed the UPL is OSD compliant, however
    concerned about further changes. Oracle intends to release software
    soon and wants us to approve, but prefers not to publish anything
    until approved by the OSI as the recognize the authority of this
    body and does not want release a license that is not OSI approved.
    Initially the Board was waiting for JPC (sic) review, but that has
    been undertaken with agreeable results. Some Board members raised
    concerns over the use of the phrase, "Provided that..." It was
    suggested that those Board members with concerns work with the
    applicant to modify the license to address those concerns. If they
    can be met as described, the Board would approve the UPL.
    *Vote: *7 Yes; 0 No; 2 Abstain (Richard, Zack)

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