[License-review] Approval: OIN License (Open Innovation License)

Russell Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Mon Dec 28 00:38:40 UTC 2020

On 12/27/20 12:31 PM, Andrew Nassief wrote:

> Making technology that isn't intentionally built to harm humanity to 
> the best of your knowledge

The Amish would have a disagreement with practically anything you 
consider ethical. You may try to object by saying that the Amish don't 
use technology. But they do. They only use ethical technology, and that 
excludes most things with a CPU, but not all, and only THEY will judge 
what is ethical and what is not.

Should we allow a license which a serious religious group could not use? 
I think not.

You're trying to draw back freedom from the recipient of the software to 
the creator of the software as the arbiter of what is ethical. Feel free 
to do that, but don't call it Open Source, because it isn't.

Back in my Clarkson Packet Driver days, I received a floppy in the mail. 
It came from The Pep Boys. It had some improvements to the Token Ring 
packet driver. I asked myself "Who TF are The Pep Boys?" I looked them 
up, and they are a nationwide (US) automobile service system. Apparently 
they had been using Token Ring packet drivers for years WITHOUT EVER 
ASKING ME. Are The Pep Boys an ethical company? Damned if I know, and ...

... because my software is Open Source, I don't get to judge them on 
that basis. Neither would you nor anyone you want to use your license. 
This license does not solve a problem that the Open Source community 
perceives. Give it up, Andrew. This dog don't hunt. This is a row you 
cannot hoe. This is a bridge too far. This is a nonstarter. Casters-up 
mode. Bricked.

Now, some might say that I'm being a little firm with you. The string of 
emails you sent to the list, and the obvious frustration you show in 
them, tells me that you aren't listening to us. You are receiving the 
wisdom of *literally* hundreds of years of experience[1]. You should not 
reject it lightly.

May I make a suggestion that will help you? Ethical restrictions[2] on 
open source are an oxymoron. That is because the person who decides 
whether a usage is ethical or not is the *recipient* of the software, 
not the creator and not the distributor. It's not that there will be no 
ethical use of open source software. It's just that your ethics do not 
rule the day. We consider this to be a good thing. Not that there's 
anything wrong with your ethics or my ethics or anybody's ethics 
(although there may be). It's because Open Source software, to have the 
positive effects we all want, cannot be centrally controlled. The only 
reason we even HAVE Open Source licenses is because the legal systems of 
various countries impose requirements on us that we have to waive with a 

My objections are sufficient, not complete. I reserve the right to 
object to every word of this license, in combination, in whole 
(oneselves -- 
https://languageandgrammar.com/2019/03/03/rid-yourself-of-hisself/), or 
in part (there is no hyphen in "intact").

-Russ Nelson, board founder[3] and past President of the OSI

[1] Possibly more like 180 which is less than a plural hundred, but you 
know what I mean.
[2] If it's not a restriction, it does not belong in the license. It 
might go into a preamble, but it should be phrased in the form of 
encouragement, not agreement.
[3] Honestly, I just found it there, it didn't seem to belong to anybody 
and it followed me home.

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