Open Source Initiative Blog

  1. We would like to introduce (and thank!) Amol Meshram, who has joined us here at the OSI to provide monthly summaries of both the License-Discuss and License-Review mailing lists. We hope these reports provide you with a helpful snapshot of the monthly activities on the lists, keeping you up to date with the latest topics, while also providing a reference point for further discussion. Of course all suggestions are welcome as we continue to enhance our reporting. We will try our best to include the feedback from OSI community members to make the summaries as accurate as possible and the discussions lively and fruitful.

    In Oct 2019, License-Review mailing list members discussed below mentioned topics;

    1. For Legacy Approval: OpenLDAP Public
      Jilayne pointed out that there are many versions of the OpenLDAP license available on So, Jilayne wanted to know from OSI committee which OpenLDAP version it is approving for the purpose of open source licensing. To this Pamela Chestek on behalf of OSI confirmed that OSI approved the OpenLDAP Public License Version 2.8, 17 August 2003" which is identical to what SPDX has as OLDAP-2.8
    2. Coherent Open Source: Getting underway next Friday
      Nothing much discussed so did not write summary of this topic.
    3. The Vaccine License:
      Filli Liberandum submitted The Vaccine License for approval to Open Source Initiative.
      Florian Weimer after going through The Vaccine License document found that “Complying person” clause does not list any ‘medical’ contraindications for waiver eligibility. So, Florian Weimer wanted to know whether this exclusion is done deliberately or not? Filli Liberandum was surprised by the interpretations of Florian Weimer and suggested to read it as "which are appropriate for the patient’s medical condition" and asked whether this interpretation is addressed the query or not?

      Carlo Piana is not in favour of The Vaccine License and feels it is a trolling exercise. Filli Liberandum suggested to Carlo Paina to read the mailing list code of conduct. In furtherance to it, Filli Liberandum explained why there is a necessity of acknowledging The Vaccine License by OSI board and its members.
      Anand Chowdhary based on his experience of adding privacy compliance under twente open source license pointed out that there are better ways to protect privacy of individuals like local/national/international regulation instead of protecting it through open source license. He is of the opinion that there are better ways to advocate for vaccination and open source license is not the better way to advocate for it.
      Filli Liberandum countered to Anand Chowdhary by citing example of Cryptography Autonomy License of Mr. Lindstrom which ask for some release of data as a condition and head of OSI has publicly accepted this condition. Pamela Chestek brought into notice of Filli Liberandum that OSI did not endorse the view of Simon Phipps (referred head of OSI by Filli) on Cryptography Autonomy License data condition clause. Simon Phipps is member of the board along with others. Simon Phipps views on CAL are personal.
      Filli Liberandum raised a concern with respect to archives as it is  stuck in a plaintext mode.
      Simon Phipps suggested to Filli Liberandum to familiarize with License-review process and change the tone of message and requested to leave moderating to the moderators to which Filli agreed and responded that here onwards Filli will directly reach out to concerned members.
      Gil Yehuda responded to Fil that Licenses usually do ask for things in return and appreciated the efforts of Fil in writing The Vaccine License, while considering the OSD. Gil raised an important point of enforceability of The Vaccine License in the real life scenario. Gil is of the opinion that one can right a blog and promote the importance of the idea instead of restricting it with copyright license. To buttress claim, Gil cited article written by Selam G which convinced Gil to support Free Software Movement. The reason behind citing this article is to explore other platforms instead of publishing work under copyright license.

      Carlo Piana responded to Fil that The Vaccine License is discriminatory and non-enforceable in nature. Carlo thinks that vaccination can be achieved through local authorities instead of enforcing it through copyright license. Carlo believes one should provoke reactions rather than genuine attempt of having a license approved.
      Josh Berkus agrees with Carlo on provoking reactions from members on license instead of attempting for approving the license. Josh suggested to take this submission as a use case and put it on for future reference.
      Carlo Piana is of the same view that should take this submission as a use case for future submissions to avoid duplication of work.
      Bruce Perens is also of the opinion that a direct law on vaccination will be more effective than a license. Similarly, Bruce also wrote two blog posts on the issue of “ethical” licenses wherein Bruce referred the proposed The Vaccine License.
      Grahame Grieve replied to Bruce’s blog post and appreciated the efforts of writing blog post on ethical license and also the basic arguments put forwards by Bruce. But Grahame bothered by the lack of ethics in the Vaccine License, judging vaccine license solely based on enforceability clause. Similarly, Grahame wanted to know whether the lawyers, courts and violators laugh at license and is there any precedent on when someone gives something of value away, on the condition that it not used in a particular way? Bruce Perens replied to all the queries of Graham Grieve. Firstly, Bruce Perens claims blog post argument is based on law instead of license terms. Secondly, Bruce has experience in handling litigation for various reasons and Bruce wants other should not get into litigation for same cause of action. Lastly, Bruce said Lawyers, courts and violators laugh at license and this whole exercise will be term as a ‘‘copyright misuse’’.  
      Kevin P. Fleming replied to Graham and pointed that The Vaccine License does not talk about goals instead it focusses on action to be performed which is not in sync with the use of the software. Similarly, Kevin is of the opinion that The Vaccine License violates the OSD 5. To this Grahame Grieve countered by saying if The Vaccine license is applied to health software then in such scenario would Kevin change his opinion.
      Van Lindberg appreciated various aspect of the Vaccine License and efforts put forward by Fil in creating the vaccine license. But Van feels the Vaccine License does not qualify for OSS because it imposes conditions which are logically separate from and wholly unrelated to scope intellectual property rights that are licensed. Similarly, Van attempted to answer the question on what scope of action can be required of a license? Van observed if restrictions are closely related to the exercise of the intellectual property rights granted under license then such restrictions make sense and compatible with OSD.
      Filli Liberandum replied to analysis of Van and requested to reverse engineer the rules from the approved licenses which Fil believe will lead us to conclusion that the Vaccine License attempt is not an accidental in nature.
      Josh Berkus feels that The Vaccine License is very good example for ‘’unrelated conditions’’ license which can be referred in future as a textbook example to differentiate between what kind of licenses OSS supports and what can’t be supported by OSS license.
    4. Resubmission of the European Space Agency Public Licenses (ESA-PL) for approval:
      Pamela Chestek apologised for not acting on ESA Public Licenses and confirmed that separates threads have been three licenses. Filli Liberandum shared the link of three different threads with members for discussion.
    5. ESA Permissive PL 2.3:
      Pamela Chested replied to old thread dated May 6, 2018 on ESA Permissive PL 2.3 wherein Carsten Gerlach suggested a notice text in the license FAQ instead of amending the language of the license. Pamela thinks this position is in contravention to US law which says where the licensor is not the ESA, any statements made by the ESA would be irrelevant.
    6. ESA-PL Weak 2.3:
      Pamera Chestek has below mentioned queries with respect to Section 3.1 of the Weak 2.3 license.
      1. Can a licensor choose what license will be used for their distribution?
      2. If one receives code under the ESA-PL Weak Copyleft license, can we sublicense it under the GPLv3?
      3. How will the term ‘’extension’’ will be interpreted in as per wording mentioned in Section 3.2.1 of the Weak and Strong license?
      4. What will happen if separate work in integrated to form a larger program, but it’s not in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, does that mean the license does not apply.
      Bruce Perens finds there is a problem with text mentioned in ESA-PL Weak License which is more harmful to ESA itself.
  2. We would like to introduce (and thank!) Amol Meshram, who has joined us here at the OSI to provide monthly summaries of both the License-Discuss and License-Review mailing lists. We hope these reports provide you with a helpful snapshot of the monthly activities on the lists, keeping you up to date with the latest topics, while also providing a reference point for further discussion. Of course all suggestions are welcome as we continue to enhance our reporting. We will try our best to include the feedback from OSI community members to make the summaries as accurate as possible and the discussions lively and fruitful.

    In Oct 2019, License-Discuss mailing list members discussed below mentioned topics;

    1. AGPL and Open Source Definition conflict:
      Discussion was not in context of AGPL and Open Source Definition conflict so did not include summary of discussion.
    2. Storing source artefacts in ELF files:
      In this discussion, software installation related information was discussed so did not include a summary for this topic.
    3. Open Source Software Question:
      Ahmed Hassan asked to OSI community members whether someone can claim software released under dual-license to be an open source software by restricting number of users who can access it for self-installation? Kevin P. Fleming replied that if open source software has usage restriction then it can not be called as an open source software.
      Gil Yehuda second with Kevin P and advised to use code which is under the open source license terms and write a code for implementation which is not under open source license.
      Brendan Hickey referred the github link provided by Ahmed and found that “NoLicenseMaximumAllowanceUserCount” condition is only with proprietary project not with open source project. Similarly, Brendan Hickey was of the opinion that there is nothing wrong in the open source project mentioned by Ahmed Hasan.
    4. Are you forced to make your project open source?
      Richard Dagenais asked OSI community members whether it is mandatory to open source software when;
      1. open source code is referred/used for developing software, but it is not modified.
      2. there is a necessity to distribute the Java JRE of the open source project with newly written code to run the application?
      To this Mike Milinkovich replied that it is not mandatory to release the application under an open source license.
      Thorsten Glaser analysed the mentioned scenarios and found that developer application can be under any license terms and mere aggregation of open source code into application is permissible. He also recommended to follow GPLv2 §3(a) license.
      B Galliart was of the opinion that if Richard Dagenais wants to redistribute Amazon Correto or any other OpenJDK without modification then he must follow below mentioned guidelines.
      1. Mention product build using Amazon Corretto and covered under the GPLv2+CE text
      2. Provide complete copy of GPLv2+CE text
      3. Notify where one can obtain complete source code to the GPLv2+CE covered work.
      In addition to it B Galliart presented two scenarios with respect to what is called derivative work and what is not derivative work so that Richard Dagenias can make decision with respect to open source code.
      Florian Weimer replied to B.Galliart’s recommendation ‘’You must make them aware the product included Amazon Corretto and it being covered under the terms of the GPLv2+CE’’ that the above mentioned recommendation will not work as various parts of OpenJDK are under different licenses.
      Bruce Perenswrote a cautionary note that mailing list members in this thread are competent, qualified lawyers and are very helpful. But, in any terms their advice cannot be considered as lawyer’s advice as they are not contracted for this work. So, any advice provided in mail thread is subject to risk.
    5. Google v Oracle –Google’s Petition for Certiorary:
      Only judgement is shared over email and no fruitful discussion was taken place so did not write a summary for this topic.
    6. Feedback on Open-Source Contribution License:
      Simon Fridlund shared the modified version of ISC license with OSI community members and asked opinion about license and whether language used in license is ok to close for a license?
      Brendan Hickey analysed the language used in the license and concluded that the mentioned license requires something of value in exchange for the software which is not in line with open source license policy.
      Tom Callaway feels condition mentioned in license is violation of Criteria 5 of OSD and wording used in license is vague in nature and trivial to circumvent.
    7. Coherent Open Source-Getting underway next Friday:
      In Sep 2019, Bruce Perens declared that COHERENT OPEN SOURCE will be presented at Open Core Summit, 2019. Bruce Perens proposed scrapping of 100+ open source licenses and bringing FSF/OSI approved cross compatible licenses which will achieve most purposes of Open Source/Free Software.
      Gil Yehuda analysed the motivations of open source license and proposed that it is better to see differences between the motivations for Free Software, Open Source and Source Available models. Gil Yehuda also suggested altering goal from "achieves *most purposes of Open Source/Free Software*" to "clarify when a license meets the intent of the Free Software movement, the Open Source movement, or the Restricted Availability movement." Once it is done, we can include the representatives of each movement so that they can comment whether there is an overlap or not.
      Bruce Perens feels idea proposed by Gil Yehuda will divide the open source community.
      Lawrence Rosen seconds with the idea proposed by Gil Yehuda and rejected the arguments put up by Bruce Perens. Lawrence is of the opinion that FSF needs to change its opinions about license interworking before many accept those licenses.
      After careful perusal of Bruce Perens arguments, Lawrence Rosen changed her position and agreed with Bruce Perens that BSD and GPL licenses should be acceptable to both camps.



  3. The Open Source Initiative has seventy affiliate members. They represent a broad swath of the open source community, representing educational institutions, projects, and communities. We’re especially proud of our affiliates’ excellent work: thought leadership in open source philosophy; forward-thinking, community-building initiatives; and the work they do as part of fulfilling their missions to develop, innovate, and encourage the adoption of open source technology.

    We wanted to take a moment to share the work of some OSI affiliate organizations and their stellar leadership across the greater open source community in community, design, and technology. Our goal is to offer just a few examples of how some of our affiliates are working which may inspire andinform your own efforts.

    Brandeis University recently launched a program in Open Source Technology Management, to help train those seeking leadership roles in companies and communities, giving them a foundation in the value and necessity of open source software and philosophy. The program at Brandeis also creates a space for students to work directly with individuals active in the open source movement.

    Creative Commons completely revolutionized licensing for content and media through the creation of the Creative Commons suite of open licenses. Their optimism and dedication to building a cultural commons have inspired countless people around the world to adopt open licenses and share their creative works.

    The Debian community is best known for the Debian “universal” operating system, which powers everything from home computers to servers to the International Space Station with 100% free software. The Debian Social Contract highlights how a community’s commitments can further its mission by centering both users and developers.

    The Document Foundation supports open source in many forms through their work with LibreOffice and the Document Liberation Project. LibreOffice provides a robust desktop and online office suite, allowing broad-scale adoption of open source software in homes, schools, and workplaces. Additionally, the Document Foundation does a great job providing a model of how a foundation can support a project while staying true to the values of open source.

    Building maps and mapping tools are not just a matter of convenience to help us get around — they are necessary for humanitarian efforts, disaster response, and creating social equity. OpenStreetMap provides technical and social infrastructure for community map building. They also show the greater community how an open source project can be involved in humanitarian efforts while building world-class software.

    The Python Software Foundation demonstrates excellence in community building and organizational leadership. Among other activities, PSF supports PyCon events around the world, providing opportunities for people just getting started in open source to learn and get involved wherever they are.

    The Software Freedom Conservancy works on a number of fronts for the free and open source community. In addition to licensing enforcement efforts and assisting developers in understanding and protecting software freedom, they provide fiscal sponsorship and a home for a growing collection of communities and projects. These projects flourish with the help of the Conservancy.

    Wikimedia provides a home for several projects and initiatives, including Wikipedia. Wikipedia has completely changed the way societies interact with knowledge and information. The Wikimedia community builds amazing things in open, collaborative communities that together build a reusable knowledge commons.

    This is by no means an exhaustive list of our amazing affiliates and the inspiring work they are doing. It just demonstrates a small sample of what is happening with the OSI community. We’re proud of our affiliates and their commitment to open source. We would be excited to promote the great work of our affiliates with the broader open source community, so please let us know what you’re up to. We invite both our affiliate members to share those projects that provide open source leadership, and we also invite the community to reach out to us to find colleagues and peers within our affiliate communities that may be able to help them and their projects toward open source success.

    - The OSI Board of Directors

    Image credit: "Post1020Header.png" by Open Source Initiative, 2019, CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication, is a derivative (cropped, scaled, and color adjusted) of "Glacier National Park" a U.S. National Park Service photo, available under Public Domain, via the U.S. National Park Service.

  4. OPF Logo

    Foundation working to ensure digital information remains accessible and usable through open source software and communities becomes latest OSI affiliate member.

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), the global non-profit formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source software, development, and communities, is proud to announce the affiliate membership of the Open Preservation Foundation (OPF). Enabling shared solutions for effective and efficient digital preservation, the OPF leads a collaborative effort to create, maintain and develop the reference set of sustainable, open source digital preservation tools and supporting resources.

    Founded in 2010 as the Open Planets Foundation to sustain the results of EU-funded R&D, OPF currently stewards the leading portfolio of open source digital preservation software and enables the development of best practice through webinars, interest groups, community events, and training. Open Preservation Foundation's vision is open sustainable digital preservation.

    "The OPF joined the OSI because we share a commitment to raising awareness and advocating for open source software," said Martin Wrigley, Executive Director of the OPF. "We maintain a set of open source file format validation tools and look forward to exchanging ideas with new communities and sharing our experience in digital preservation."

    The OSI Affiliate Member Program, available at no-cost, allows non-profit and not-for-profit organizations—unequivocally independent groups with a clear commitment to open source—to join and support the OSI's mission to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.

    "Open Preservation Foundation's work exemplifies multiple dimensions of openness, not only as a maintainer of several open source tools and an open community for collaboration but also through their work ensuring digital content in many formats remains accessible and usable," said Patrick Masson, OSI General Manager. "We're grateful for OPF's support as a member and look forward to their contributions as a community."

    OSI affiliate members participate directly in the direction and development of the OSI through the Board of Directors elections as well as incubator projects and working groups that support software freedom. OSI membership provides a forum where some of the world's most successful open source software leaders, projects, businesses, and communities engage through member-driven initiatives to promote and protect open source software, while also extending and improving their open source efforts through co-creation, collaboration, and community.

    About the Open Preservation Foundation
    The Open Preservation Foundation (OPF) is a global not-for-profit membership organization that leads a collaborative effort to create, maintain and develop the reference set of sustainable, open source digital preservation tools. Founded in 2010 to steward the results of EU-funded R&D, the Foundation enables the development of best practice through interest groups, community events, webinars, and training. The OPF's vision is open, sustainable digital preservation. To learn more about The Open Preservation Foundation see,

    About the Open Source Initiative
    Founded in 1998, the Open Source Initiative promotes and protects open source by providing a foundation for community success. It champions open source in society through education, infrastructure, and collaboration. As the steward of the Open Source Definition, the OSI is recognized internationally as the sole standards body for certifying open source licenses and preventing abuse of the open source concept by bad actors. The (OSI) is a California public benefit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. You can find more about the OSI at,

  5. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) has worked for over 20 years to promote and protect open source software and communities, animated by the principles of software freedom and recognition of the value of collaborative development. While open source is distinct from free software, this distinction isn’t clear for many, and our shared roots bind us together.

    It is because of our shared history and our commitment to elevating the very best qualities of the open source movement that we choose to make this statement today:

    OSI applauds the efforts of every individual who has ever spoken up and taken steps to make free, libre, and open source software communities more inclusive. Without you, the movement would be less vibrant, less welcoming, and irreversibly diminished.

    Whether you’ve led your community to implement a code of conduct or taken the time to mentor someone who isn’t like you, whether you’ve reported toxic behavior or pressured community leaders to act: thank you. It takes courage to change the status quo, and all too often, that comes at a personal expense.

    Ultimately, ours is a moral movement, and our integrity hinges on whether we rise to meet the challenge of seeking justice and equity for all.

    As we move forward, we hope that we can learn as a community and incorporate the lessons of the past into building a better future. Further, we hope we can build bridges to those who have been shut out of our movement, whether by omission or commission, at the hands of systemic bias as well as toxic and predatory behavior.

    As the saying goes in open source, “Many eyes lead to shallower bugs.” So too do many perspectives lead to better software. Here’s to a better, more inclusive tomorrow.

    - The OSI Board of Directors

    Image credit: "CommitmentToElevatingTheVeryBest.png" by Open Source Initiative, 2019, CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication, is a derivative (cropped, scaled, and color adjusted) of "American avocets flying above Floating Island Lake" a U.S. National Park Servicephoto, available under Public Domain, via the U.S. National Park Service.