Subject: Re: Change ot topic, back to OVPL
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 10:15:12 -0400

Alex Bligh writes:
 > Russ,
 > >  > So, can we return to the discussion of the OVPL and what it would
 > >  > take to make it acceptable as an OSI-approved license? It has
 > >  > relevance, especially to the charter of this list....
 > >
 > > I want to see the CDDL improvements currently in the OVPL (and I think
 > > they are genuine improvements) taken out and applied to the CDDL where
 > > they belong.  It may be that the CDDL folks don't think they're
 > > improvements, but the OVPL folks should make the effort and report
 > > back on their success or failure.
 > You didn't reply to my email which
 > a) listed the "non-functionality" changes made which could be backported
 >    to the OVPL, and showed that they were completely minimal.
 > b) queried why it should be the OVPL team's responsibility to get the
 >    CDDL folks to "fix" [1] their license, when they might be of the opinion
 >    that it isn't broken, or doesn't need fixing.
 > c) questioned why "fixing" [1] the CDDL should be a criteria for approval
 >    by the OSI, given the published criterion for approval with the OSI
 >    is that it meets the OSD, and the OSD currently has no provision that
 >    says "any license from which a new license is derived should also
 >    be fixed up". Sun were not asked to fix the MPL.
 > [1] quotes because I am not convinced that was is for us a necessary
 > improvement that makes it multijurisdictional necessarily means the CDDL,
 > which as far as I know has only been used for US origin code, is broken.
 > > I also want to see the numbering of the CDDL preserved.  This makes
 > > for fewer changebars and easier study and analysis.  I think I'm on
 > > pretty safe ground to insist upon this particular change.
 > I am taking it that you read the license before making that comment,
 > and looked at how you might renumber it.
 > The numbering HAS been preserved in its entirety, apart from the
 > section 1, and the addition of 3.3.

In other words, it HAS NOT been preserved in its entirety.  Sheesh,
you're like one of my students saying "Well, I got it almost perfectly
right; can't I get a perfect 100?"

 > Section 1 has the majority of renumbering, and is the definitions
 > section. As you are probably aware, it is normal for definitions to
 > be in alphabetical order and consecutively numbered. Not doing so
 > would make the OVPL much harder to read. In any case, anyone
 > reading either license references the definitions by the defined
 > term, and not by number. I hope you are not seriously suggesting we
 > change this.

I am dead serious, and I expect that most members of license-discuss
will back me up.  We have gotten LOTS and LOTS of feedback both
recently and over the years that, well, licenses are hard to read.  I
don't think it is in the best interests of the open source world
(whose interests we exist to pursue) to allow you to make a derivative
work of an existing license and make small changes to that license
which are not necessary to maintain the legal understanding of your

Like I said earlier, I can be persuaded that I am wrong if you can
supply a lawyer's perspective that there is a legal need to make these
small changes.  I can also be persuaded if you CONTACT the CDDL folks,
and they REFUSE the improvements.  You've resisted doing this so
strongly that if you assert that you have contacted them and they have
refused, I'll feel it necessary to get the CDDL folks' side.

The principle I am pursuing here is that a section of a license which
is intended to be taken the same should be EXACTLY the same.  Word for
word, number for number.  Whitespace I'll give you for free.

 > In any case, as above, there is no OSD requirement that the numbering
 > of one license should match the numbering of a predecessor, so no,
 > you are not on safe ground to insist on this particular change. The
 > criterion for approval is whether it meets the OSD.

No, we've always felt free to reject licenses which are not in the
best interest of the open source community.

Unfortunately, I'm headed off to the NY state fair for five days, so I
cannot give your email the proper respect it deserves.  I'm sending
this off as-is to give you a chance to start revising the OVPL as I
recommend.  If you choose not to revise it, and insist that I put it
before the board, I will do so with a "Recommend: rejection" header.
If the board sends it back to you for revision, and you decline to
revise it, you can re-submit it on an as-is basis and I will submit it
to the board again with a Recommend: approval header.  It will take
months and months for this process and in the end, you will be hurting
the open source community.

Do any license-discuss readers disagree with me?

I could do a better job with this email, but .... I must run in sixty
seconds.  Wish our county good luck in the competitions!

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