[License-discuss] Certifying MIT-0

Richard Fontana rfontana at redhat.com
Thu Apr 23 02:33:56 UTC 2020

On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 9:48 PM Tobie Langel <tobie at unlockopen.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> The MIT-0 license[1] is an MIT license with the attribution clause removed. It has notably been used to license example and scaffolding code.
> It doesn’t look that it has been approved by the OSI. I couldn’t find it on the licenses page[2].
> I imagine that is has been discussed on license-review@ already, unfortunately I couldn’t find a way to search the archives either. A pointer would be very much appreciated.
> If this license hasn’t been rejected in the past, would there be a chance for it to be accepted? It seems like it meets the OSD and fulfills a need that’s hard to meet otherwise.

It seems likely it would be approved, given the approval a few years
ago of the similar, ISC-based license now known as Zero-Clause BSD,
though perhaps some would object on anti-proliferation grounds.

> If so, could I bring it to license-review@ myself given I’m neither a lawyer nor the author of the license?

Lawyers fortunately do not have a monopoly on the ability to make OSI
license approval submissions. As for the author, though:
https://opensource.org/approval implies that the submitter of a normal
(non-legacy) license approval request should be the license steward,
while submissions for legacy approval can be by an "interested
licensee". However it now seems clear that a "legacy" approval doesn't
necessarily mean the license is particularly ancient. I think I first
became aware of MIT-0 from its occasional use by Amazon/AWS, but I
don't know if they were the first ones to use it. To speak of MIT-0 as
having a "steward" seems questionable, although the experience of
Zero-Clause BSD shows that people can have a strong authorial sort of
interest even in minimalist reductions of the most textually
minimalist open source licenses.

In the case of the v3 GNU licenses, license approval submissions were
done by someone other than the license steward: if I remember
correctly, Chris Di Bona submitted GPLv3 and LGPLv3 in 2007 and
Stefano Maffulli submitted AGPLv3 in 2008. But those were special
cases, as -- at that time, anyway -- everyone knew it was politically
unthinkable that the FSF would ever submit a license for OSI approval.


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