Subject: Re: OSI Certification Process
From: (Bruce Perens)
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 20:37:55 -0800 (PST)

From: Alex Nicolaou <>
> I've attempted to do all of these things with an open mind, and have
> tried especially hard to be receptive to commentary and always get
> specific commentary that enables me to change the license so that it is
> more satisfactory.

I can no longer recommend that _anyone_ accept a free software license
that has had no input from an attorney. Two years ago, we could rarely
find an attorney willing or able to work on an Open Source license. Now
that we can, and now that free software is such big business, it's a bad
idea to settle for less. I can just see some poor hacker using your license
and then having to be the first one to test it in court. You want me to put
someone in that position?

> I think it is very important to add the above additional criterion to
> the WWW pages, if the opinion you express above is part of the
> certification process. The idea that a license should be considered not
> suitable for certification solely because it "contributes little" and
> that certifying a new license can "do active harm to the free software
> community" is not at all reflected on the WWW pages. If this info had
> been on the web site, it possibly could have saved me a lot of time and
> effort. 

He's right. Hopefully the OSI folks on this channel can fix that.

> In the Canadian legal system, this type of license
> would be more binding and usable in court

I know some of the British-descended countries let anyone practice law, I
don't know about Canada. I suspect that an attorney would be more qualified
to give that opinion, though.