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Re: DFSG conform OSI licenses

Quoting Francesco Poli (frx@firenze.linux.it):

[Comparison of DFSG and OSD:]

> OSI based its OSD on the DFSG....

More specifically, Bruce Perens wrote the latter document first, and
then copied it wholesale with trivial modifications to create the former
("The license" instead of "The license of a Debian component", and
"shall not" rather than "may not", and "must not be specific to a
product" instead of "must not be specific to Debian" in a couple of

Later, I believe, there were two other minor divergences:  OSI added
some additional safeguards to those of DFSG#2 about separately available
source code, taken primarily from the text of GPLv2.  And, in reaction
to proposals of clickwrap software licences, OSI added the OSD#10
requirement (licence must be technology-neutral).

(Incidentally, Debian should consider updating DFSG to incorporate
wording similar to that of OSD#10.)

> ...but treats it as a *definition*, that is to say, a set a *rules*
> whose letter, it seems, must be met, in order for a *license* to be
> *approved* (OSI-certified) as Open Source.

This is true, but please note that approval is not endorsement, and OSI 
deprecates some because they're dumb in particular ways.  Its process
for classifying licences into recommended, less recommended, and "are
you kidding?" is slow, on account of bickering from those whose oxen are
getting gored (my interpretation, anyway).

> However OSI has begun to interpret the OSD in such a relaxed way, that
> it seems almost any license even vaguely resembling something acceptable
> gets approved, sooner or later...

I strongly dispute your assertion, having been active on OSI's
license-discuss mailing list for years and participated in pretty much
every evaluation there (while having been mostly a lurker here).  Would
you mind please citing a few examples?

> IMHO, the term "Open Source" has gradually become totally meaningless,
> because of this we-certify-everything attitude of OSI

I know of not even one example of same.  To the contrary, I was one of
several license-discuss participants who helped OSI reach consensus
to reject MPL 1.1 + Exhibit B badgeware licences, for example.

> (and, ironically, because of the success that the very term gained:
> everyone now uses and abuses the term "Open Source" to mean anything,
> just since it's a trendy term...).

The abuse of the term by, e.g., Centric CRM is surely not OSI's fault.
They vocally oppose it, for one thing.  And, actually, attempting to do
so is starting to emerge as a losing ploy, because it brings bad

Cheers,                English is essentially a text parser's way of getting 
Rick Moen              faster processors built.
rick@linuxmafia.com    -- John M. Ford, http://ccil.org/~cowan/essential.html

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