Subject: Re: OSD#5 needs a patch?
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 15:08:57 -0700

Quoting Chuck Swiger (

> I followed the discussion with some care, but I didn't especially want 
> to participate in a flame war.  There appear to be many people who read 
> this list without posting their opinions on every topic to arise; like 
> others, I lurk until I have something I feel is useful to say.
> What's your problem with this?

We appear to be having a communications problem, here.  You were citing
the "response to [Sean's] proposal" as somehow indicating OSI having a
GPL bias.  But that is not what the discussion, that you allege you
followed "with some care", indicated:  Ian remembers one unnamed person
as having opined that Sean's licence suffers some unspecified OSD
defect; everyone else said it obviously _is_ OSD-compliant.  And none of
those people is an OSI Board member, in any event.

So "my problem" is... well... your not following this discussion with
any significant amount of care.  But my larger concern isn't with you
specifically, at all, but rather with dispelling certain errors that
seem to have creeped into the discussion.

> >I don't certainly need Sean's help to resolve that question.  The
> >answer is perfectly obvious.  Wake up, Chuck:  There are already
> >_many_ GPL-incompatible licences on the OSI-approved list.
> Of course there are.  So why give Sean's proposal such a hard time
> compared to the others?

1.  If you wish to know why they gave Sean's proposal "a hard time",
you'll have to ask the people who did, and cease confusing them with the
OSI Board.  However, those people were (if memory serves) fairly
articulate, so it might suffice to consult their posts.

2.  What makes you think others who propose gratuitously incompatible
licences haven't also been given "a hard time"?  They have.

> >Guess what, Chuck?  This is an open-subscription mailing list.  It's a
> >small miracle that we don't have _more_ erroneous declarations of fact,
> >and that Ian believes he remembers only one in this instance.
> You asked a question.   You got an answer which Ian confirmed by 
> agreeing with my recollection that at least one person claimed Sean's 
> license was not OSD-compliant. 

I would say at _most_ one featherless biped claimed Sean's licence is
not OSD-compliant.  That person (if Ian remembers correctly) was most
likely the inevitable random net.loon.  We get those.  He most certainly
wasn't an OSI Board member.

> In addition, Ian stated that while he thought Sean's license was
> OSD-compliant, that he did not think that the OSI board should approve
> Sean's license (to paraphrase "argued against").  If you want to look
> up the list archives for details, fine.

You are quoting -- and interpreting -- Ian's after-the-fact summary in .
But his actual appraisal was quite a bit more nuanced, and can be seen in :

    This license raises the question of whether the OSI should
    mechanically approve any license which meets the OSD, or whether the
    OSI should apply other considerations as well.  If the OSI does not
    approve licenses mechanically, then I would vote against approving
    this license, as I believe it could tend to balkanize the open source
    community rather than build it up.

My understanding is that the Board _does_ approve licences based on
their OSD-compliance only, without any concern for whether they're
recommended in any way -- "mechanically", as Ian would have it.  

Ian is of course entitled to his view (which he took great care to
distinguish from the OSD-compliance question), but it seems to me that
the balkanisation train somewhat left the station, long ago.  I agree
with him that balkanisation has ill effects and should be more
prominently warned against; I've addressed this separately in a reply to
Larry Rosen.

> You misunderstand.  I'm not trying to argue with you, or make clever 
> remarks to keep your interest, or anything else other than debating the 
> point at hand, and even that is losing interest because of the ad 
> homiem attacks.

My critiques have been addressed solely to the merits of arguments
advanced:  I very much non-appreciate your attempt to assert the
contrary -- and note the convenience of attempting to make _me_ the
subject rather than the actual matters at hand.

Rick Moen                         This .signature intentionally left blank.  
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