The week before a major American holiday is always a slow news week in enterprise software. What would us enterprise software bloggers do without the drama of the open source culture?
On May 25, Open Source Inititaive (OSI) founder Bruce Perens submitted the new Google (GOOG) WebM license for approval by the OSI license review committee. But Perens does not work for Google. And in his submittal he said he thought Google might have made a couple of inadvertent mistakes in putting together the license.
On May 26, Google -- in the person of Chris DiBona, another open-source-culture cult figure -- objected. DiBona does not quite have the creds of Perens. According to his bio at O'Reilly (the bible of open source), "Before joining Google, Mr. DiBona was an editor/author for the popular online website Slashdot.org and He (yes, it's capitalized--ed.) is an internationally known advocate of open source software and related methodologies." Perens on the other hand runs a business that produces open source software.
However DiBona has the name Google standing behind him, which counts for something -- or used to -- in the open source culture. DiBona replied to Perens as follows:
"Please hold off on submitting this while we determine certain compatibility issues internally at Google. We'll engage with OSI in a couple of weeks, likely as not (underlined for emphasis-not in original). I would also point out that we're uncomfortable with make license proliferation worse and in the event we do submit it, we will want a couple of changes to how OSI does licenses.
- "We (Google) will likely want a label explicitly deterring the use of the license.
- "We will want the bod (license review committee) list archives open for any discussions of webm. We are not comfortable with OSI being closed.
"This might sound strident, but I think that OSI needs to be more open about its workings to retain credibility in the space."
Yes, it sounds strident to me But Larry Rosen of Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a respected technology law firm, and active OSI discussion participant agrees with Google. That's good enough for me but it will be interesting to watch and see if the OSI treats Google the same way it treated Microsoft (MSFT) two years ago when Microsoft submitted two licenses for OSI approval
And just to be clear, Google did not ask for OSI approval.
The OSI, which is run by Red Hat (RHAT) VP Michael Tiemann and includes Simon Phipps (ex of Sun) and a half dozen others, probably will not like its processes called out. But at least I'll have something to write about when I return from the American three-day weekend. The OSI discuss- and review-list mailboards will be lit up like the fourth of July (sorry, wrong holiday).
-- Dennis Byron (no financial interest in companies mentioned)