License List Working Group

Last modified by Pamela Chestek on 2023/02/17 01:52

The OSI, under the auspices of the License Committee, will be evaluating whether the current list of licenses is as comprehensive as it should be. It may be that a combination of factors, including a) how licenses are selected for review, b) the desire to ensure that approved licenses meet a minimum standard of quality, and c) a desire to discourage license proliferation, may have prevented some suitable licenses from obtaining OSI approval. This creates ambiguity about whether some licenses are or are not open source licenses.

The mission of the License List Working Group is to find ways to ensure that the OSI’s license list is appropriately comprehensive while also continuing to encourage the use of a smaller set of well-known, well-understood licenses. The work is likely to include:

  • Reevaluating the criteria for approving licenses, potentially setting different standards for licenses in use versus new licenses
  • Reevaluating the process for considering licenses for approval, including whether the OSI should itself nominate licenses for approval
  • Reevaluating the current categories for licenses, including how they are used and their usefulness
  • Evaluating whether there should be a process for decertifying licenses, and what the process and standards would be for the process

This Working Group will not be investigating or evaluating whether the Open Source Definition should be revised. That project is likely to require a different assortment of participants than this proposed Working Group, so a review of the OSD is more appropriately undertaken separately.

The Working Group will solicit input from the community, both individual and corporate, in fulfilling its task.

If you are interested in participating in the Working Group, please contact License Committee chair Pamela Chestek at [email protected]. Describe why you are interested in participating and a brief summary of your background and qualifications for the role. The intent is to have a fairly small working group that can work efficiently, with members who are willing to contribute significant time to the project. There is also a desire for representation from different interests, including individual, for-profit and nonprofit entities, different legal jurisdictions, and lawyers and non-lawyers.