Exploring Potential Revisions to the Open Source Definition

The Open Source Definition (OSD), which is maintained by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), is a foundational pillar of the open source movement, said Richard Fontana in a recent article for Opensource.com. The OSD sets forth various criteria that must be met in order for a software license to be labeled as open source and, Fontana notes, is analogous to constitutional text.

Fontana writes:

The OSD was drafted and adopted by the OSI shortly after its founding in 1998. It is essentially a rebranding of the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) with relatively minor changes. It has been amended only once, in 2002, with the addition of a tenth plank ("License must be technology-neutral"). 

There is no urgent need to revise the OSD, Fontana says, but now might be an opportune time to explore potential improvements, noting “a rise in attempts to ‘game’ the OSD in the license-approval process and elsewhere.”

Fontana goes on to describe what hypothetical changes to the OSD might look like and to suggest specific issues the OSI might wish to consider, including patents, copyleft, and various risks vs. benefits.

Read the complete article at Opensource.com.