[PROPOSAL] Open Source certification

Robert Levin levin at openprojects.net
Sun Apr 11 06:05:34 UTC 1999

Coming into the discussion late, I will comment that, to the extent that OSI
performs its functions without consulting the community, it can't expect to
be considered representative of the community.  Are you there to advance our
interests, or not?  Like it or not, this is going to be a public process,
and you are not going to have a lot of leeway in spin control.

There were clear, obvious problems with the Apple license, for example. 
Apparently those problems survived whatever consultation and certification
process OSI was involved in.  It's all very well to say that people should
comment in private, but the public pronouncements of OSI were generated by a
private comment process, and had clear flaws.

Add to that the ego matters, pronouncements by ESR of his indispensibility,
shuffling personnel, and the ongoing arguments about the trademark, and
there are clearly problems with the concept of providing "one stop shopping"
for industry "certification of compliance."  Which has never seemed to me to
be a very "open source" concept to start with.

I think a lot of us would just like to see OSI research more than certify. 
I.e., if someone comes to you to wanting to know if their new license is
open source, resist the temptation to believe that it will be open source if
you rule ex cathedra it's so.  Get input from the broader community, and
express your opinions as opinions.  Otherwise your clients are apt to get a
nasty shock when they discover that the community you are trying to speak
for isn't necessarily having any.

Rob Levin

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