Subject: Re: Change ot topic, back to OVPL
From: Chuck Swiger <>
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 15:08:23 -0400

Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> On Wed, 24 Aug 2005, Russell Nelson wrote:
>> Do any license-discuss readers disagree with me?
> I disagree with requirements for certification that go beyond 
> conformance to the letter and spirit of OSD.  Alex is right - you didn't 
> make Sun go get the MPL fixed.  All this effort being poured into 
> denying the OVPL certification would be better invested elsewhere, such 
> as in license comparison documents, or the license selection wizards 
> people have proposed or prototyped, or in culling dead licenses.  IMHO.

+1.  Getting a license certified should reflect the process as the OSI has 
documented it; it should not involve multi-month delays while the OVPL people 
compare language with Sun and the CDDL.

If we need to change the approval criteria in response to "license 
proliferation", very well, then lets move the goalposts to where they should 
be, document it publicly, and then leave them there.

Russell, you should not keep shifting the goalposts with ad-hoc conditions.

More specificly:
> 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
> license.

The last time I looked, there were over 30 distinct variants of the BSD (and 
the CMU license, and the UMich license, and others) just in libm, the standard 
math library.  All of these involved small changes to the original BSD license 
from the 1970s, and pretty much none of these changes were necessary from a 
legal standpoint.

This hasn't seemed to hurt anything, it hasn't seemed to cause mass confusion, 
involve lots of lawyers and legal debate, or anything else.  On the other hand, 
I wouldn't especially want to deal with 30 variants of the CDDL/OVPL, either.

It's useful for the OSI board to provide some inertia and resistance to avoid 
adopting licenses too easily, but it is being taken to an extreme.

I'd rather have 30 new open source projects out there, to compete, flourish, 
die off, etc, with less debate about approving their licenses, then to have 30 
projects on hold waiting for the OSI board to respond to their license submission.