Licensing: FSF and OSI approval processes

Definitions of free software and open source are both vague, and license approval processes of both organizations are the ultimate resource to know if a license is free software or open source.
Free Software Foundation criteria to decide if a license qualifies as free software are mutable:

To decide whether a specific software license qualifies as a free software license, we judge it based on these criteria to determine whether it fits their spirit as well as the precise words. If a license includes unconscionable restrictions, we reject it, even if we did not anticipate the issue in these criteria. Sometimes a license requirement raises an issue that calls for extensive thought, including discussions with a lawyer, before we can decide if the requirement is acceptable. When we reach a conclusion about a new issue, we often update these criteria to make it easier to see why certain licenses do or don’t qualify.

Where the mechanism used by OSI for license approval/rejection is partially opaque:

1. Create a legal analysis of the license as it complies with the terms of the Open Source Definition. Each paragraph of the license should be followed by an explanation of how the paragraph interacts with each numbered term of the Open Source Definition. The analysis should come from a licensed practitioner of the law in your country. Email this analysis to license-approval at our domain name, This document will remain confidential to the Open Source Initiative.
6. If license-discuss mailing list members find that the license does not conform to the Open Source Definition, they will work with you to resolve the problems. Similarly, if we see a problem, we will work with you to resolve any problems uncovered in public comment.

Beyond definitions, both organizations decide unilaterally if a license qualifies or not.

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