Is it time to rethink the open source license approval process?
Is Google’s WebM open source or not? And why (or more to the point, how) did it take the OSI nearly five months to approve the PostgreSQL license?
Open Source Initiative board member, Simon Phipps, declared on Monday that Google’s WebM project “is not currently open source”. It was a statement based on the fact that the license used for WebM is not currently approved by the Open Source Initiative as being compliant with the Open Source Definition.
The choice of language was unfortunate though. Had Simon written that WebM “does not currently use an OSI-approved license” then the statement would have been unarguably true. Declaring that the license is “not… open source” prompted predictable disagreement.
“OSI does not have a trademark on the term “open source”. It is not OSI-approved, but it is open source by anybody else’s definition,” commented one anonymous respondent, while David Gerard noted that “the rather more active FSF considers it free software”.