[okfn-discuss] Open Definition forges ahead - get involved!

Mike Linksvayer ml at gondwanaland.com
Mon Dec 17 18:17:22 UTC 2012

Text below my name copied from

2013 will be an important year for Open. If you'd like to get involved
at the meta level, there are a bunch of ways to do so via Open
Definition work.

I encourage sending this call to ought-to-be-interested people. I've
copied okfn-discuss and open-government here for generality and
because many of the licenses we're discussing now and are from

Look forward to a 2012 in review post.


http://opendefinition.org (OD) is one of the first projects that the
the Open Knowledge Foundation created. Its purpose has been to
provide, promote -- and protect -- a meaningful Open in Open Data and
Open Content.

It does this primarily through curating the Open Knowledge Definition
(OKD) -- http://opendefinition.org/okd working with license stewards
to ensure new licenses intending to be open are clearly so, and
keeping lists of licenses that conform to the OKD, and those that do
not -- providing any entity intending to create an open project, or
mandate "open" in policy, with a clear reference as to which licenses
will achieve their aims.

With the growth in "open" and especially of open data initiatives in
the last few years there has been an increasing amount for the project
to do especially in terms of reviewing and evaluating licenses. For
2013 we see several important areas of work:

* OKD v1.2 -- https://github.com/okfn/opendefinition/blob/master/source/open-knowledge-definition.markdown
-- we've seen license conditions cropping up that are certainly
contrary to the spirit of the definition and implicitly
non-conformant. It ought be possible for anyone with some
understanding of public licenses to do a quick read of the definition
and understand its meaning for a particular license without having to
know all of the history of open definitions and licenses.

* Review important new licenses and license versions for OKD
compliance, e.g. Open Government License Canada, and version 4.0 of

* Moving linguistic translations into a git repository for better
review and updating.

* Improve explanations and graphics available on the OD site for
anyone who wants to learn about open knowledge and services, and
proudly announce to the world that their projects are open.

* Extend our work on license APIs that provide information about open
licenses at http://licenses.opendefinition.org and integrate with the
main OD site; also look to cooperate with other projects eg
https://spdx.org/licenses/ and https://licensedb.org/ providing Linked
Open Data about licenses.

* Provide regular updates about OD work to the broader OKFN network,
open communities, and general public.

* Develop a version git-based repository of license texts so they can
be tracked over time

* Growing out of discussions from
and http://blog.okfn.org/2007/07/18/we-need-an-open-service-definition/
the OD project developed the Open Software Service Definition (OSSD)
-- http://opendefinition.org/software-service/ -- recognizing the
complementarity of open content and data (knowledge) and open source
web platforms and other network services that open knowledge is
created, curated, and distributed on. The OSSD hasn't been touched in
a long time, but software services (some of them called "the cloud")
have become more important than ever, including in domains nearest to
the OKFN community's most active work, such as platforms used by and
for open government. Shall we update the OSSD and revitalize
evangelism for open services, or declare not a core competency, and
look to other groups to take leadership?

If you're a legal or policy expert, software freedom advocate, linked
data hacker, translator, designer, communications maven -- and want to
go "meta" about openness, we could use your help! Join the od-discuss
mailing list -- http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/od-discuss --
and pitch into the discussion, start a new one, or lurk until you're

Final decisions about license conformance and definition updates are
made by the http://opendefinition.org/advisory-council/ ... this is
not a big time commitment, but it is a big responsibility. If you'd
like to join the AC someday, join od-discuss today.

We're especially keen to have AC members from every continent.
Currently we only have Europe and North America, and recognize that's
a big problem for the long-term impact of the Open Definition project.
Especially if you're from the global South and care about the
fundamentals of openness, please join od-discuss and
http://opendefinition.org/contact/ !

More information about the okfn-discuss mailing list