Subject: Re: Can OSI specify that public domain is open source?
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2011 14:33:09 -0700

Quoting Karl Fogel (

> In the current situation, OSI is supposed to either deny or not affirm
> that (say) SQLite is open source.  That seems a worse result.

Again, point of order:  OSI has always been really clear that it doesn't
certify any software as open source.  There really would be no practical
way to do it, so OSI has never aspired or professed to do so.  It only
certifies _licences_, and is custodian of the formal definition of open

If a software's surrounding circumstances as a whole result in that
definition being met, then the software is open source.  For works whose
copyright titles still exist and haven't totally expired (and weren't 
non-existent ab initio, as with certain US Federal works), a software 
licence is necessary but _not sufficient_.  OSI certifies licences as
granting the necessary rights _if_ surrounding circumstance don't
prevent their exercise.

So, the correct answer to 'Why doesn't OSI certify SQLite as open
source?' is 'OSI doesn't certify _any_ software as open source.'

Cheers,                               ["Exit, pursued by a bear."]
Rick Moen                             -- The Winter's Tale, Act III, Scene III  
McQ!  (4x80)