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

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Sat Mar 16 20:26:36 UTC 2019

Bruce Perens wrote:

> I do think it is the case that the discussion became repetitious.


As one commenter who has been repetitious for nearly 20 years here, I apologize for saying things that I still believe but that OSI and you, Bruce, seem often to ignore. I repeat myself below in random order:


1. The most important role for OSI should be education about license differences, not merely listing licenses in random or alphabetical order. That's just a shopping list, not a dinner menu. There are several attorneys on this list who have taught open source in law schools. Use their skills to do that here.


2. OSI should stop ranking licenses based upon popularity. The GPL is popular. So what? The BSD-2 is popular. So what? Neither license was written by God.


3. OSI should stop identifying licenses as "niche" or other disparaging comments. What do individual or OSI board's opinions on that count for? In science and most other fields, niches sometimes become mainstream. That is why I am relearning physics many years after I went to college and had been taught that there was only one galaxy (or a very few!) and no black holes. That is why I keep on this OSI list, in the occasional hope that someone will invent something new rather than just another BSD.


4. OSI should agitate for the proposition that all open source licenses are compatible for use and for source code access, for copying the software, for creating derivative works under those specific licenses, and for distributing that software to the world. Many of the other opinions here about license compatibility, especially for the GPL licenses, are unfortunate efforts to stifle code sharing for aggregate works based on the false notion that almost every aggregation is a derivative work. Almost no aggregation is a derivative work of software.


5. While the OSI board doesn't need just attorneys, non-attorney's opinions about licenses should be accompanied by "IANAL". I spent many years going to law school and learning licensing, and regret that some people here think lawyer's opinions (not just mine!) are not helpful. The OSI board doesn't practice medicine either, for good reason.


6. OSI should stop approving licenses that are legally duplicates and irrelevant. The current list of permissive licenses on Blue Oak Council is overwhelming and thus useless to naive open source contributors. And of course, it is entirely useless to lawyers who actually read and understand those simple licenses already.


7. The OSD is over 20 years old. Before the US Constitution was 20 years old, we already had 10 amendments! Times and philosophies and business models and technology evolve. So can the OSD if we're allowed to debate that without claiming historical validity to everything good that we did in the past.


8. You simply can't ignore patents. You can't assume that RAND and FRAND can be squeezed into open source. That is a major reason to think again about the OSD.


My opinions, for whatever use you make of them.



-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-discuss_lists.opensource.org/attachments/20190316/501eb666/attachment.html>

More information about the License-discuss mailing list