Subject: Re: Can OSI specify that public domain is open source?
From: Chad Perrin <>
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2011 15:28:15 -0600
Wed, 7 Sep 2011 15:28:15 -0600
On Wed, Sep 07, 2011 at 02:33:09PM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Karl Fogel (
> > In the current situation, OSI is supposed to either deny or not affirm
> > that (say) SQLite is open source.  That seems a worse result.
> Again, point of order:  OSI has always been really clear that it doesn't
> certify any software as open source.  There really would be no practical
> way to do it, so OSI has never aspired or professed to do so.  It only
> certifies  licences , and is custodian of the formal definition of open
> source.  
> If a software's surrounding circumstances as a whole result in that
> definition being met, then the software is open source.  For works whose
> copyright titles still exist and haven't totally expired (and weren't 
> non-existent ab initio, as with certain US Federal works), a software 
> licence is necessary but  not sufficient .  OSI certifies licences as
> granting the necessary rights  if  surrounding circumstance don't
> prevent their exercise.
> So, the correct answer to 'Why doesn't OSI certify SQLite as open
> source?' is 'OSI doesn't certify  any  software as open source.'

I think perhaps what Karl intended to convey is disappointment in the
idea that the OSI doesn't certify the copyright status of SQLite as
compliant with the maning of "open source".

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: ]

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