Subject: Re: APSL 1.1 certification...
From: Gabe Wachob <>
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1999 20:29:14 -0700 wrote:

> Clearly one of the issues for the OSI board is how to characterize its
> certification process.  Any process like this is subject to a variety of
> issues and pressures, one of which is "regulatory capture" (one that
> has significantly affected the development of HTTP and HTML, for example),
> where the regulated entities attempt to control the scope and nature of
> the process.  Another is what we might call "forward spin control," where
> the ruling by a regulatory or certification body is subject to later
> (mis)interpretation.

These are some reasons why "open" deliberations are often preferred over closed
deliberations American law making bodies, for the most part, are "open" and not
secret policy-making organizations. (many states, like California, have "open
meeting" laws where government bodies must conduct meetings "openly" -- that is,
open for the public to attend and with full transcripts available).  The more
openness, IMHO, the better, in most decision making processes (note: open
doesn't mean everyone gets to decide, it means everyone can review the
deliberation). Not only are the potential problems mentioned above addressed,
but also the open deliberations can give other folks who might be addressing the
decision making body in the future (in this case, other companies wishing to
devise open-sourcish licenses to be certified as Open Source) a clearer view of
the types of issues and concerns that are important to the decisionmaking body.

Open decisionmaking processes also give legitimacy to the decisions made
themselves because openly-made decisions are less likely to be made based on
illicit interests or interests not in the public interest.

Sometimes, of course, open-decisionmaking causes grandstanding, but that really
depends on the personalities involved.

The nugget to take from this email is that the *default* for decisionmaking
processes, including the certification process, should be one of openness -- the
board may be the one's voting, but unless there is some specific reason to make
things secret (eg litigation tactics or NDAs or something) deliberations should
be reviewable (at least) by the public...