Subject: Re: Questions to OSI Board quorum
From: David Barrett <>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 14:30:29 -0800

Russell Nelson wrote:
> David Barrett writes:
>  > The OSI currently allows very strong discrimination against those who 
>  > would take "open" source "closed".
> Right.  That's the goal.  Preserving the freedom to fork is another
> goal.  Discriminating is not preserving that freedom for all parties.
> It just preserves the freedom for some parties.

I was attempting to make the point that maintaining one 'freedom' means 
'discriminating' against others, so it's paradoxical to say a license 
must offer absolute freedom and zero discrimination.  But like all vague 
terms, I think it's best to avoid them and stick with the concrete 
concerns as close as possible.  Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time 
figuring out what they are, or if what I've proposed resolves them.

Specifically, between 11/11 and 11/14, everything you wrote led me to 
believe the OVPL was rejected because:

- The grant-back is mandatory
- The recipient of the grant-back can never change

I think these are fair boundaries; I'm not asking you or anyone to 
change them.  Rather, I'm trying to work within these new boundaries by 
proposing the grant-back be made opt-out.  So far as I can tell, making 
the grant back optional resolves both these issues neatly.

(Ok, maybe it doesn't for the second -- how about you have the option of 
leaving it alone, deleting it, or changing the grant back to whoever you 
please?  Does that cover all the bases?)

But once I proposed this, you introduced a new issue earlier today:

> [Opt-out] still discriminates.  The contributor would have to say to the
> current maintainer "I wish to opt-out."  If they don't do that, then
> the current maintainer has an obligation to the original contributor.

I take this to mean that yes, an opt-out grant-back does solve your 
previous concerns, but you have a new concern that making anything in a 
license opt-out is discriminatory against those who wish to exercise 
that option (the same logic would apply for opt-in provisions).

This new "optional provision" concern is a fair one (though one I've 
never heard before).  But before tackling it, can you confirm that an 
opt-out/reassignable grant-back would resolve the board's specific 
concerns with the OVPL?  It might introduce new concerns, but that's a 
separate matter.

Again, I'm not questioning the board's decision regarding OVPL.  I've 
moved on.  I'm asking you to, too.

I know you personally loathe what I'm trying to do.  And you are 
certainly welcome to recuse yourself and find another representative to 
the board on this topic.  But I'm still trying to do it, because my 
developers, my colleagues, and -- outside this list -- almost everyone 
I've talked to on the topic thinks it's a good idea, both wannabe and 
actual open-source developers alike.

I apologize that we don't fit into your idea of what the open source 
community should be.  But that doesn't change your self-appointed 
mandate to represent our interests fairly.