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

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Mon Feb 24 19:05:02 UTC 2020

On Mon, Feb 24, 2020 at 1:19 PM Nicholas Matthew Neft Weinstock <
nweinsto at qti.qualcomm.com> wrote:

> I don’t think there is any dispute that OSI can use whatever criteria it
> wants to add licenses to the list of OSI-Approved Licenses.

Well, within the OSD, which is effectively our constitution.  We have
amended the OSD in the past (by adding #10), but this is a very rare thing
to do.

> However, part of John’s objection seems to be the possibility that OSI is
> declaring these licenses are not “Open Source” at all.

Not exactly.  I am saying that:

1) If we determine that an OSI-certified license is not OSD-compliant, we
decertify it.

2) If we determine that an OSI-certified license is OSD-compliant but
probably should not have been certified for other reasons, we think twice
about removing it because there may be third-party contractual obligations
that depend on its certified status.

To which I will add:

3) We do not consider ourselves bound by stare decisis if we believe it
will lead to a bad result in this particular case.  In my view, open-source
license certification is not a situation in which it is always better to
have a settled result than a just result.

John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
Babies are born as a result of the mating between men and women,
and most men and women enjoy mating.
    --Isaac Asimov in Earth: Our Crowded Spaceship
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