Subject: Re: OVPL vote results
From: David Ryan <>
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 11:54:33 +1100

As you will expect, I am very disappointed with this outcome.  I believe 
the OSI board has made the wrong decision and are viewing the OSD to 
meet their goals, when and how they see fit.  The OSI board have 
previously approved a similar license; namely the QPL.  It contains the 

b. When modifications to the Software are released under this license, a 
non-exclusive royalty-free right is granted to the initial developer of 
the Software to distribute your modification in future versions of the 
Software provided such versions remain available under these terms in 
addition to any other license(s) of the initial developer.

The goal of the OVPL was to create a similar license which created a 
re-usable template for this license.  I do not understand how the QPL 
can be deemed *not* to discriminate against persons or groups of persons 
and how OVPL does?

The second, and more important, issue that I would like to point out to 
the board is that large companies with open source products demand more 
than the OVPL.  To contribute to these large projects you must sign a 
copyright assignment of some kind.  If you take the OSI boards current 
view, these large projects demand "descrimination" for contributions.  
While it is possible that a third party can distribute modifications, 
they never have the full copyright ownership to have the same rights as 
the initial developer.  In this way the "descrimination" is complete and 
total over the community.  These companies are totally in their right to 
completely remove these projects from open source leaving nothing to the 
community of contributors.

The OSI board are currently representive of many companies which use 
this exact mechanism to "discriminate" over the developer community.

I am also very disappointed with the length of time the OSI board has 
taken to come to this decision.  We have been patient and understood 
that the OSI board is made up of volunteers.  However, this license has 
been discussed on the mailing list since the 10th of April.  It has 
taken seven months for board members to decide that the OVPL is 

To add more insult to injury the OSI board suggested two months ago that 
we talk to Sun to have elements of the OVPL put back into the CDDL.  It 
was obvious that the only elements that would apply are the jurisdiction 
elements.  At this point the OSI had a formal approval request for the 
OVPL since June.  Why did the OSI not recognise the OVPL as 
discriminatory at this time?

This process has cost me considerable money and countless hours of hard 
work; discussions with Alex and people on and off list,  having lawyers 
in Australia review the license, purchasing domain names, creating and 
maintaining a web site, paying for the international conference call 
required to discuss the OVPL with the board.  I completely accept the 
risk I have taken, however, if the board had told me they believe this 
would be "discriminatory" in March when the license was first discussed 
on the list I would not have wasted my money and time.

The final comment from the board, that the board suggests the term 
"Shared Source" is simply rude.  I suggest that the companies which the 
board represent should likewise change the naming of their projects to 
"Source Available".  They are obviously discriminating against the 
developer public that are forced to hand over their copyright for their 
hard work.  The term "Open Source" has many faces.  I have never seen 
agreement on this term.  Using the OSI's board mentality I suggest that 
they deem only a "Public Domain" license to fit the term "Open Source".


Russell Nelson wrote:

>The OSI board has, with some reluctance, decided not to approve the
>Open Vendor Public License (OVPL).  The OVPL has some desirable terms
>in it which address concerns about Australian law (the liability and
>warranty exclusions) which are clearly within the strictures of the
>Open Source Definition and are improvements over the CDDL.  We hope
>that Sun also sees these terms as improvements and encourage them to
>add them to the next revision of the CDDL.
>The other terms, related to the mandatory grant-back, we are less
>comfortable with.  The grant-back creates a situation that
>discriminates against parties who wish to make their own distribution
>of OVPL-licensed code.  These parties can never be an "Original
>Contributor".  No matter how large their contribution, they will
>always be required to give their code back to the Original
>Contributor.  This, we adjudge, violates the "No Discrimination
>against persons or groups of persons" term of the Open Source
>It is unfortunate that some licenses which almost exactly comply with
>the open source definition will not gain our approval.  There must be
>a line somewhere, and after careful and thoughtful review we find that
>clause 5 of the OSD requires that we draw that line between the OVPL
>and OSI certification.
>We encourage everyone to release as much of their source code under
>whatever terms they are comfortable.  They could call it Shared Source
>as Microsoft does.  We encourage the use of the term "Source
>Available" software since the source is available but not open for all
David Ryan. aka Oobles.