Slashdot, eWeek, Microsoft, the OSI, Groklaw, and me

Well, it seems I've made Slashdot, quite unintentionally. The article there references an eWeek article about how I proposed that the Open Source Initiative approve two Microsoft licenses, the Microsoft Permissive License and the Microsoft Community License. Here's a FAQ:

  1. Why is this story news in August 2006? Ya got me. Groklaw reported on it back in December 2005, when it was in fact news.
  2. Do you speak for Slashdot, eWeek, Microsoft, the OSI, Groklaw, or any of your past or present employers? No, only for myself.
  3. Is what the eWeek story says about you true? Yes, except that I no longer volunteer for ccil.org; I did some work for them in the past.
  4. Why did you propose the licenses for OSI approval? Because I believe they meet the elements of the Open Source Definition.
  5. Are the licenses basically similar to other OSI-approved licenses? Yes.
  6. Then why ask OSI to approve them? Because I want to encourage Microsoft to release software under an OSI-approved license, even if they feel it necessary to use their own license
  7. Microsoft release anything under an Open Source license? Surely you jest. No, actually. Microsoft released WiX under the Common Public License, an OSI-approved license. And there have been other such releases.
  8. Why did you withdraw the request for OSI approval? For a number of reasons, it's awkward for OSI to approve licenses that are not proposed by the author of the license. The OSI wants to keep all approved licenses on its site, and may not have copyright permission to do so. Furthermore, if the OSI wants to request changes, only the author can make them.
  9. Does that mean you have changed your mind about the licenses? No, only about the suitability of OSI approving them.
  10. Are you a shill/astroturfer for Microsoft? No.
  11. What's your view on open-source software? I use a lot of it and have released my own code and other stuff under several different open-source licenses.
  12. What do you want to do with your fifteen minutes of fame? Wait for it to pass.
  13. Can I leave a comment? Yes. However, as Le Guin says, I can take a little inaccuracy or a little accusation, but the combination is poison. I reserve the right to remove comments I think are poisonous.


Anonymous said...

Slashdot says that "the OSI contacted Microsoft to see if it should evaluate the license anyway, and was told to drop it", but you state that you withdrew the request yourself.

Did the OSI stop evaluating the license because of Microsoft, or because you withdrew the request? Did they contact Microsoft before or after it was withdrawn? Are the two things in any way connected?

John Cowan said...

I don't actually know the answers of my own knowledge; I have to rely on the eWeek article here.

I think "told to drop it" is overstated. Russ Nelson said OSI would consider the licenses if I insisted, but they would really rather I didn't, so I withdrew my request. He then apparently asked Microsoft "Should we consider these licenses of yours?" and Microsoft replied as noted in the eWeek article: essentially "We think that would be premature". And there the matter stands.

Anonymous said...

umm but the eweek aritcle says dat you work at ccil.org, n i trust them more than some stupid weblog. also y would microsofts use some gay commie open source (more like open sores!!!) to make their halos and windows?! u need to take some smart pills there, dummy!

John Cowan said...

Poor d8uv. Since I know he can spell better than that, I will not gratify his perverse urges by deleting his comment.