Many companies over the last couple of years have started "Web2.0" businesses (I'm using the celebrated term to mean they are offering metered services via web-applications which they have authored and which they host). Some Web2.0 Application companies want to also call themselves "Open Source" although their source code is available only under *modified* copies of licenses that are "OSI Approved". These modified licenses are most often derivatives of the Mozilla Public License. A partial list of the most visible of these include SugarCRM, Compiere, Alfresco, Socialtext...to name a few.
There are several potential issues with these licenses. First and perhaps most troubling of all, modification of licenses is supposed to trigger a re-submit to OSI before claiming that the resulting derivative is still Open Source. OSI has long had a policy of only considering licenses which have been submitted by their authors and so we have been working for some time with several of these companies to get them to publicly submit something we can deliberate upon. Meanwhile, some members of the community are getting restless. There have been queries by community members who are concerned, and today Nicholas Goodman submitted a "template" of an Attribution License to License-Discuss to try to get the issue opened. We believe however that we are on the verge of getting one of the companies in question to submit their actual license, which we would prefer.
Here's the thing: We have no reason to think that any these companies is intentionally acting badly. It is not in anyone's best interest to punish a given company for being willing to submit their license, and all have expressed concern that the License Discuss discourse would be harsh and perhaps unjust. They have all read the OSD very carefully and all believe they have made modifications to the MPL that shouldn't violate the rules. They all point out that the exigencies of the application space are different than with infrastructure software such as the Linux kernel. Also they note that we have already approved licenses requiring some form of code attribution (most often a permanent notice somewhere in the sources).
Many of these new Web2.0 company Attribution Licenses go a little further however and require some sort of attribution in the form of a logo or text which must be displayed on web pages built using any part of the covered code. In our deliberations we are trying to determine how much attribution is "too much" to inhibit the Open Source Effect fueled by unintended consequences and maximum code reuse and where to draw a line if indeed a line needs to be drawn.
We'll continue to discuss these issues and to work for submission of a license to License-Discuss for public comment. But we want to use the process constructively, not punatively. We always learn something when a new license is submitted. Our process is about learning and examining the Open Source Effect as expressed in licenses.