[License-discuss] Improvement to the License-Review Process

Richard Fontana rfontana at redhat.com
Wed Aug 26 16:27:37 UTC 2020

On Wed, Aug 26, 2020 at 12:07 PM Josh Berkus <josh at berkus.org> wrote:
> On 8/25/20 1:51 PM, Andrew DeMarsh wrote:
> > Demonstrate that at least x projects, which are not related to each
> > other, either currently use the license, or will utilise it, if the
> > license is accepted as being "Open Source". Whilst "x" is an arbitrary
> > number, the idea is that by being used, there is a demonstrated real
> > world use with professional intent for a usable OSI license which fills
> > a previously unaddressed need with the OSI approved licence range.
> FWIW, *most* license submitters have done exactly this. When they don't,
> it's usually the first question asked, and I don't know that we've
> passed a license that didn't have at least one substantial project
> behind it in the last 10 years.

I could be wrong but I think several of the licenses approved by OSI
in the past 10 years were not, at the time of approval, in use by any
substantial project (by any reasonable definition of "substantial"),
and I believe several may not have been used by any projects at all.
It should be pretty easy to check this.

For a while there was a tendency for people to propose "thought
experiment licenses" for OSI approval, and I think the OSI may have
encouraged this practice early in its history, but that seems to have
become less common during the past few years.

I have mixed feelings about a "substantial use" bar. The thought
experiment licenses were largely a nuisance, in my view, but
experimentation in open source license drafting should not be


 > So this seems like a solved problem,
> unless we're proposing raising the bar to exclude startup projects.
> I would support requiring submitters to identify themselves, although
> I'd like to include in that identifications that might be internet-based
> rather than government-issued (e.g. "I'm 'onehacker' on Gitlab, you can
> see my projects here").
> --
> Josh Berkus

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