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Re: The APSL and Export Controls

Chip Salzenberg writes:

> According to Seth David Schoen:
> > If the current OSD is all they see, there's a lot of room for
> > confusion, perhaps because of the number of things the DFSG took for
> > granted.
> OSI has never made an explicit or implicit contract to call something
> "Open Source" just because it meets the OSD.  So the OSD really is
> still just a set of guidelines.  But the guidelines are so good that
> most of the time they need no great amount of interpretation.

Well, it says on the opensource.org home page that the OSD "sets the
conditions for use of this mark".  It's true that the "branding program"
page then says that the OSD itself is irrelevant and all entities that write
their own licenses need to ask the OSI for permission to call them "Open
Source", but many people don't even notice that part.  (That's partly because
the text of the OSD itself doesn't mention anything about the branding

I think if you picked 10 Linux users at random, 9 or more of them would
probably say that meeting the terms of OSD 1-9 was enough to use the
"Open Source" mark.

I also think that, as more companies write public licenses of their own,
these problems are going to become more significant.  The average
individual software developer can't easily find loopholes in the OSD, but
the average corporate intellectual property lawyer can.

Therefore, you might want to emphasize on opensource.org that the use of
the mark is permitted _when the OSI judges_ that a license is Open
Source -- not just when a developer believes that the terms of the OSD
have been met.

> > It's easy to get the impression that the lawyers who write many of
> > these licenses don't _actually_ want to give up some sort of
> > "control" over the code, and are looking for loopholes in the OSD.
> True.  That's their job.  OTOH, there's a reason they're called
> "corporate counsel" -- they give counsel, but they need not be obeyed
> if other factors are considered more important by management.

True.  But it may be difficult for management to make that decision.
(Then again, that's _their_ job.)

> > If "Open Source" is going to continue to be a useful and meaningful
> > term, I think the OSI needs to be careful to hold users of the term
> > to high standards; otherwise, the term could gradually become
> > diluted in many different directions.
> That is our intent.  A recent license was turned down because it might
> *possibly* have met the letter of the OSD, but it definitely did *not*
> meet the OSD's intent.

Thank you for doing that.  Good luck continuing to do so.

              Seth David Schoen / schoen@uclink4.berkeley.edu
He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do."  And they
said, "Nay, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the
nations." (1 Sam 8)  http://ishmael.geecs.org/~sigma/   http://www.loyalty.org/

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