Subject: Questions to OSI Board quorum
From: David Ryan <>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 13:35:55 +1100

It is not clear how to bring business or questions before the OSI 
board.  I hope you will accept these questions in leau of any formal 
procedure.  I hope these can be answered at the next board meeting 
(which I believe is later this week).

The recent decision to reject the OVPL license by the OSI board raises 
some other important questions in relation to the open source movement.  
I put these questions to the board so that the community can get a clear 
understanding of how the OSI board will continue to govern, and 
interpret the Open Source Definition(OSD).  This should hopefully ensure 
that future similar decisions can be made quickly without the many 
months time lag the OVPL encounted.

Question 1)  Can the board be more clear in describing how the OVPL 

It is very important that I and others developing licenses have a clear 
understanding of how the OVPL descriminates.  This will ensure that 
future applications for approval will not make the same mistake.  The 
current response is that "parties can never be an 'Original 
Contributor'".  This is true of many licenses.  Take for example the 
GPL.  No contributor can ever be an 'Original Contributor'.  The OVPL 
allows any person or group to take the source code and distribute it 
under the same terms as many other licenses.

Question 2) Would a license which requires all contributions to be 
licensed uner a BSD style license still be deemed descriminatory?

It is important to gain an understanding of where the OSI board draws 
the line of descrimination in this case.  Requiring that all contributor 
code be licensed under a BSD provides less specific advantage to the 
Initial Developer.  However once again the contributor can never be an 
'Original Contributor'.  This change was suggested to the OVPL 
previously.  Before starting the process of attempting to modify the 
license, I would like to ensure additional time and money is not wasted.

Question 3) As suggested by Ernest Prabhakar.  Will the board admit that 
approving the QPL was a mistake; and that if submitted today it would 
not be approved?

I believe Earnest put this best. "I completely respect the Board's right 
to the interpret the OSD and  make these difficult judgement calls.  
However, with that right comes the responsibility to educate the  
community about the reasoning, if for no other reason than to prevent 
similar problems in the future so that others do not have to go through 
what David did."

It is clear that Trolltech no longer require the QPL.  They now supply 
all open source versions of their tools using the GPL.  I see no reason 
why the board should not remove the QPL from the list of approved licenses.

Question 4) The decision not to approve the OVPL makes it clear that the 
OSI believe all developers should have equal rights to the "code 
commons" they contribute.  To contribute to many commercial open source 
projects requires that a developer sign a "copyright assignment".  Does 
the OSI board believe that these practices are descrimantory? If not, 
why not?

Rishab Aiyer Ghosh responded to my last email saying that "nothing in 
the licence stops me from releasing the rishab-sql distribution of, say, 
mysql, with copyright over my contributions and mysql copyright over the 
original contributions".  An important aspect here is that Rishab will 
never have the same rights and can never be an "Original Contributor" in 
exactly the same way as the OVPL.  While these companies do not use the 
license to create inequality between contributors and themselves, they 
are using other methods to ensure inequality.


PS I expect that others from the license discuss forum may wish to 
respond to some of these questions.  I would request that the OSI board 
responsd to these questions, even if they believe they have been 
answered sufficiently by forum members.

David Ryan. aka Oobles.