Subject: license proliferation discuss (was RE: URL for archive of license-proliferation list)
Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 21:48:06 +0000

 Mon, 01 Aug 2005 21:48:06 +0000
Short answer: Sure. Good idea. Russ or Steve, can you make this happen? Call it
and subscribe everyone who's already on People
can take themselves off if it's too many lists.

Can you also post the names of the committee on (see list below)

Mark and all,

The purpose of the license-proliferation list as it stands now is to keep the community
informed about what the license-proliferation committee is doing. Having a discuss list
in addition is a good idea. We should have had both lists from the start.

There was a large discussion of license proliferation that took place several months
ago on license-discuss. I'm not sure that the group came to any kind of consensus except
that it was a real problem (defined different ways by different people) and that *something*
should be done about it. But I found it extremely interesting and helpful. More discussion
is good.

The first action of the license proliferation committee is simply to rank/categorize/tier
existing OSI-approved licenses to try to give people a sense of which ones they should
consider first when picking a new license.  We are definitely not de-approving any licenses
or saying that they are no longer open source.  I see this as an iterative process and
believe me, we are no where near having final categories.

If others want to suggest other projects to help reduce license proliferation, please
do.  For example, there was much talk of a license wizard for a while. Is someone interested
in taking ownership of that? 

The members of the license proliferation committee were chosen from volunteers and are
not secret. Not posting the names was my oversight. Here they are (I don't have permission
to post all these folks' emails):

Mitchell Baker
John Cowan 
Damien Eastwood 
Bryan A. Geurts
Laura Majerus (, 650-335-715<two>
Russ Nelson (
Karna J. Nisewaner
Diane M. Peters
Eric Raymond (
Cliff Schmidt 
McCoy Smith 


-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Shewmaker [] 
Sent: Friday, July 29, 2005 10:47 AM
To: Laura Majerus
Subject: Re: URL for archive of license-proliferation list

On Wed, Jul 27, 2005 at 03:51:26PM -0700, Laura Majerus wrote:
> Only LP committee members can post

Can you create a -discuss list that will finally allow for open discussion (and input
into the eventual decision-making by the OSI
board) on the issue?

Discusion on the issue was fairly limited here on license-discuss when the issue came
up publicly, ("limited" given the magnitude of possible changes to address a conjectured

I've assummed that most other participants felt something like I did, namely that discussion
about license proliferation was at best off-topic on license-discuss, so that it would
be impolite to participate in the horribly confused, off-topic discussions that did
go on here.

Soon afterwards, that notion was re-affirmed, because there was soon to be some other
group or area set aside specifically for this discussion.

Then you posted some ground rules which, while I personally strongly disagreed with
them and could only assume others did too, I figured would naturally be on the table
once this other forum or whatnot appeared.  (Since a forum discussing whether a problem
really exists, what it might be, and what solutions might be appropriate is pretty pointless
if acceptable solutions are pre-determined or constrained from the get-go.)

So I personally took those ground rules as your initial conjectures and ideas, and nothing
more--as I assummed everyone else did.  Either way, it's impossible to discuss them
in this new forum until this new forum comes into being.

So now we have an actual committee with committee membership having been secretly decided
upon by an unknown group.  But that's also no big deal, because this committe itself
doesn't have any different sort of sway on OSI board decisions than does a random poster
to license-discuss.

But the fundamental problem still remains:  There's still no place for open discussions
of the conjectured license proliferation problem, discussion of possible solutions if
it's determined to be a problem, voting for folks to handle any particular types of
issues if necessary, etc.

That's what I've been expecting all along, as it's a necessary pre-condition to even
beginning to address potential large changes (if such are necessary.)

It's rather strange that decisions are being made before any open on-topic discussions
and debate about the problem and possible and appropriate solutions.

Mark Shewmaker