Re: [PROPOSAL] Open Source certification

From: Joseph Carter <knghtbrd(at)debian(dot)org>
To: Lynn Winebarger <owinebar(at)se232(dot)math(dot)indiana(dot)edu>
Cc: bruce(at)perens(dot)com, chip(at)perlsupport(dot)com, debian-legal(at)lists(dot)debian(dot)org, spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: [PROPOSAL] Open Source certification
Date: 1999-04-03 00:24:57
Views: Raw Message | Whole Thread | Download mbox
Lists: spi-general

On Fri, Apr 02, 1999 at 03:46:25PM -0500, Lynn Winebarger wrote:
> > I spoke with Larry McVoy on the phone yesterday, it's very clear that he
> > is _not_ promoting the license as Open Source, and OSI is not accepting it
> > as such.
> >
> What a little more disturbing was seeing ESR asked in an interview
> about the "New Copyleft" license. He said it might be time to rethink the
> Open Source Definition to include such a beast. I wish I had the
> reference.
> Anyway, I think this kind of statement bodes very badly for the
> OpenSource trademark, if SPI doesn't assert its ownership of the mark.

Agreed, they need to get a handle on things. At this point I think "by
any means necessary" is required, but I guess SPI seems to be more
interested in trying to resolve this peacefully if they can.

You'll forgive me for being pessimistic and cynnical about it and saying
I'll believe that will achieve the desired results when I see them.

> This is not to say I think ESR is evil. I have been very disturbed to
> see some of the comments on slashdot, and in articles, regarding this
> division over the Open Source tm. Frankly, the subtext of ESR's
> announcements always seem to indicate that he's really for free software,
> but sees gaining market share (and attracting commercial companies) is the
> only realistic way to gain the mind share of the public and demarginalize
> the issue. In a very real way he's correct - any time you want to take a
> radical position and make it more acceptable, you have to move the middle
> ground in that direction. Also, I agree with his analysis of the benefits
> of making the source available, even if its not free, because it does
> benefit the people who, for one reason or another, feel they must use that
> platform. So, in general, I see any move toward more liberal licensing of
> code as progress towards the overall goal of free software.

The problem is, there's only so far that it's safe to go.. Corporations
want him to go further and some corporations supposedly "on our side"
(but whom I really believe aren't at all on "our side") are helping push
him that way. The problem I'm seeing is that he's doing what they want.
I don't think he realizes even.

> That said, I also believe the purpose of the Open Source trademark
> should not so much be to help advertise products as to inform the consumer
> as to the status of the license. This is especially important in light of
> all the various licenses that have been proliferating lately. In this
> regard, I believe the branding body (whether OSI, or a committee of SPI)
> should play a role analagous to Consumer Reports, though it does allow the
> use of the "rating" in advertising. Perhaps we should consider "levels"
> of Open Source, rather than a simple binary switch. Then would could
> these levels to indicate where in the spectrum a license falls, so the
> developer wouldn't have to read the license looking for tricky legalese.
> Actually, "levels" might not be quite right either, as the classification
> might not be strictly hierarchical, but it would be a start.

Interesting thoughts.. A page for licenses determined to be Open Source
that talks about the restrictions they have might be a good idea. I
don't think a "rating system" is a good idea as came to mind when I read
the words. We don't need to score licenses on how cool they are. But a
set of yes/no questions about the licenses would be good. Someone did
something like that I think.

Joseph Carter <knghtbrd(at)debian(dot)org> Debian GNU/Linux developer
PGP: E8D68481E3A8BB77 8EE22996C9445FBE The Source Comes First!
<stu> apt: !bugs
<apt> !bugs are stupid
<dpkg> apt: are stupid? what's that?
<apt> dpkg: i don't know
<dpkg> apt: Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder...
<apt> i already had it that way, dpkg.

Browse spi-general by date

  From Date Subject
Next Message Anthony Towns 1999-04-03 04:36:08 Re: [PROPOSAL] Open Source certification
Previous Message Darren Benham 1999-04-02 22:39:28 Re: Bylwas Revision[2]: COMMITTEES