[License-review] Submitting CC0 for OSI approval

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Sat Feb 18 03:53:35 UTC 2012

On 02/17/2012 07:16 PM, Russ Nelson wrote:
> You didn't write the OSD. You wrote (with the help of many others) the
> Debian Free Software Guidelines.
I first wrote the text that is now entitled "Open Source Definition" on 
the OSI web site, except for #10 which was added much later. I finished 
it some nine months before OSI was formed. I first presented an entire 
draft document to the Debian developers as a proposal, and then refined 
that document using their feedback. For you to say I didn't write the 
OSD sounds as if it's intended to deceive.
> These guidelines were an internal memo for the project. As such, they worked pretty well.
They were never an internal memo. This was Debian's contract with the 
community, which was front page news on the news sites of the time and 
remains the primary public document of the project today.
> For example, they don't say that authors have to ship the source code EVER!
This is because the OSD is not for the certification of software as Open 
Source, but for the certification of the set of licenses attached to 
that software as Open Source licenses. It states both what belongs in a 
license for it to be "Open Source", and what must not be required in 
conjunction with the license. Many of the licenses we wished to include 
have no requirement to distribute source code. Thus, it was imperative 
that the OSD not require that. This requirement would belong in a 
companion document for the covered code, if such had been felt 
necessary. But of course it's obvious that such software has an Open 
Source license and available source code, so there was never a need for 
such a document.
> Don't take credit for things you didn't do.
I am very definitely not doing so. Please do not deceptively imply 
> We decided long ago that patents -- or any other screwy laws one
> country or another might invent -- are beyond the remit of OSI to
> worry about.
You also decided that bad decisions you made in the past did not bind 
you to repeat those bad decisions forever. Obviously software patents 
are more of a problem than they were in 1997. To ignore them today would 
be irresponsible.

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