Subject: Re: OSD#5 needs a patch?
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2003 23:55:08 -0700

Quoting Lawrence E. Rosen (

> Your suggestions and comments are encouraged.  Do you think this
> adequately explains what we mean by "discrimination?"  How would you
> make it clearer?

Your first paragraph nicely replaces and clarifies the existing OSD 5&6,
but you might consider borrowing back one of the current #6's clauses as
a qualifier:

   6. Open source licenses may not discriminate against persons or
   groups, fields of endeavor, or types and brands of technology, 
   in restricting their use of the program.

Specifying the clause's scope might avoid fruitless discussions about
types of "discrimination" that have nothing to do with licences' actual

This may be already your intention, but I'd suggest that your second
paragraph would be better included in a piece explaining the OSD's
rationale and intent, rather than in the OSD itself.  

Why?  Well, I've always thought one of the virtues of the OSD is that it
is what it does.  Although subject to clarification, it articulates what
software practices do and do not substantively deliver the right to fork
(and thus the quality of being open source), without preaching,
discussion, or elaboration.  A separate essay explaining what OSI is
aiming at would be a fine idea, but it doesn't need to be inside the OSD

To answer your question, I don't think the current OSD's use of the term
"discrimination" should be unclear to any reasonable reader, but
clarification might be worthwhile up to but not including explaining
what the OSD _doesn't_ mean.  Generally, when you find yourself doing
that, it means you're talking to ideologues and other time-wasters.

Cheers,                        A: No.  
Rick Moen                      Q: Should I include quotations after my reply?  
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