Monday, March 17, 2008

Good Moves by the OSI

I was heartened to read this writeup on CAOS and the canonical blog post by Simon Phipps. I have thought for some time that the way the OSI (and by extension, the OSD) is set up does not meet the needs of the current software landscape. If you look at Creative Commons, they explicitly recognize different use cases and different licensing terms based on use case. I never understood why the OSI insisted on a one-size-fits-all strategy that didn't recognize the different goals of some "open" technologies that did not meet the criteria of the OSD. While they always claimed to be business-friendly and not about ideology, their inflexibility seemed to indicate otherwise and resulted in some not-so-friendly encounters with companies who published software under

Now it seems that Simon Phipps may be attempting to move the organization into a more nuanced, flexible direction. I can only applaud this line of thinking as it's long overdue. He suggests renaming the OSD to "Open Source Copyright Definition" and creating the entirely new "Open Source Patent Definition" and "Open Source Trademark Definition." This is a welcome change. It's not exactly the Creative Commons model, but I look at it as the first step to recognizing that not all open definitions are the same - and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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