[OSGeo-Discuss] role of foundation with regard to licensing

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Wed Nov 18 11:16:13 EST 2009

Jody Garnett wrote:
> We went through this discussion for the GeoTools project; as I understand it
> the geotools project management committee "runs" the project and OSGeo
> foundation maintains the (c). If we choose to change the license we would
> ask the OSGeo board to do so.


I would note that the OSGeo representative for the project, normally the
PSC/PMC chair, is an officer of the foundation and can make such decisions
without referral to the board.  It is expected they would do so only
after a decision is reached by the project management body (PMC,PSC,etc).
However, the board has the authority to override such decisions.

> On 18/11/2009, at 6:57 AM, Tim Schaub wrote:
>> Without knowing any of the legal details, what I would like to see is some
>> arrangement by which the Project Steering Committee for a particular
>> project becomes part of the foundation in some way, so that the PSC has
>> the responsibility of making licensing decisions for the project.  


The PSC is considered to be a committee of the foundation, and in particular
it's representative is considered to be an officer of the foundation
(corporation) giving them some ability to speak for the foundation legally.

 >> I imagine this would happen with some constraints from the foundation (e.g.
>> OSI approved licenses only)
>> I know that in practice, this is probably the way things already are. Why
>> rock the boat?  Why assign copyright to OSGeo in the first place [2]?

The primary reason to assign copyright to OSGeo is to make it easier to
relicense in the future.  It is very hard to relicense a project with copyright
held by many contributors.

There are also reasons not to assign license, foremost being the paperwork
overhead involved in contributions agreements for all contributors.  Some
contributors are also hesitant to surrender their control over their

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Programmer for Rent

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