[License-discuss] "Fairness" vs. mission objectives

Simon Phipps simon.phipps at opensource.org
Mon Feb 24 18:08:44 UTC 2020

On Mon, Feb 24, 2020 at 5:59 PM McCoy Smith <mccoy at lexpan.law> wrote:

> >>-----Original Message-----
> >>From: License-discuss <license-discuss-bounces at lists.opensource.org> On
> Behalf Of Eric S. Raymond
> >>Sent: Monday, February 24, 2020 5:01 AM
> >>To: license-discuss at lists.opensource.org
> >>Subject: [License-discuss] "Fairness" vs. mission objectives
> >>Pamela Chestek's has asserted that it would be "unfair" to revoke
> certification of licenses we have previously accepted.
> Is the proposal to "revoke" or simply to "deprecate"?  The latter seems to
> be a better mechanism to discourage future uses, and nudge current or past
> users to move to a non-deprecated license, without the immediate harsh
> consequences against current users.  And, FWIW, it seems that a substantial
> number of the problematic licenses have a very small user base, or indeed,
> are only used by the original submitter.

Note that we already accept requests from the license steward to deprecate
a license, either because they consider it no longer appropriate (as I
myself did for the SISSL a decade or so ago) or because it has been
superceded. This conveys a clear message that the license should not be
used for new uses, without harming legacy applications (which are indeed
often minimal).

What I'd propose here is that we explore a process for deprecation of
licenses by someone other than the license steward.  Maybe it would start
with a substantiated request endorsed by several regular list members, and
then follow the same discussion-followed-by-committee-review process as
approval. The decision to involuntarily deprecate a license would then
finally be reviewed by the Board.

(in-role but not representing a consensus position)
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