Open Source Initiative Co-Founder Bruce Perens Resigns over Controversy

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    Bruce Perens (Slashdot reader #3872) co-founded the Open Source Initiative with Eric Raymond in 1998. But on Thursday Perens posted “it seems to me that the organization is rather enthusiastically headed toward accepting a license that isn’t freedom respecting. Fine, do it without me, please. “I asked Patrick to cancel my membership, and I would have unsubscribed from OSI lists, including this one, if your server was working…” The issue is a new software license drafted by lawyer Van Lindberg called the Cryptographic Autonomy License (or CAL). Another open-source-community leader familiar with the debate — who spoke with The Register on condition of anonymity — claimed Lindberg lobbied OSI directors privately to green-light the license, contrary to an approval process that’s supposed to be carried out in public. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate characterization,” said Lindberg, of law firm Dykema, in a phone interview with The Register. “I think there are number of people who from the beginning made up their minds about the Cryptographic Autonomy License. You’ll see a lot of people jumping onto any pretext they can find in order to oppose it. With regard to this idea of lobbying, there have been procedural-type communications that I think are entirely reasonable,” he added. “But all the substantive debate has been on the license review and license discussion forums….” Perens said he resigned because the OSI appears to have already decided to accept the license. He said he’s headed in a different direction, which he called “coherent open source.” “We’ve gone the wrong way with licensing,” he said, citing the proliferation of software licenses. He believes just three are necessary, AGPLv3, the LGPLv3, and Apache v2. Meanwhile, the Cryptographic Autonomy License is envisioned for use with the distributed development platform Holo, notes the Register: According to Holo co-founder Arthur Brock, distributed peer-to-peer software needs a license that addresses cryptographic key rights, which is why the Cryptographic Autonomy License has been proposed. “We are trying to say: the only valid way to use our code is if that developer’s end-users are the sole authors and controllers of their own private crypto keys,” he wrote in a post last year. Lindberg said the Cryptographic Autonomy License is applicable to current web applications but it more meaningful in the context of distributed workloads and distributed computation, which he contends will become more important as people seek alternatives to the centralization of today’s cloud-based systems. “A lot of people are very concerned about this concept of owning your data, owning your computer, having the ability to really control your computing experience and have it not be controlled by your cloud provider,” said Lindberg. Perens said, “It’s a good goal but it means you now need to have a lawyer to understand the license and to respond to your users.” Slashdot asked Bruce Perens for details on “Coherent Open Source.” Here’s what he wrote back… Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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