[Board] The geotools license agenda item

Seven (aka Arnulf) seven at arnulf.us
Thu Aug 9 05:41:34 PDT 2012

On 08/08/2012 10:41 PM, Michael P. Gerlek wrote:
> Not being involved at all in the geotools community, I've not
> followed the relicensing issue at all, and the recent discussions on
> the board list were both too long and presuppose some background on
> the issue I don't have.
> Can someone please provide a nonpartisan summary of the issue we're
> being asked to address?
> -mpg

as you can see from the mails trying to answer Michael's question there
still is quite some tension between both sides. Jody does a great job of
managing the situation (thanks Jody!) but still, I think we must be
aware that there are sentiments "out there" that OSGeo serves particular
groups better than others.

The current situation is stable and we do not need to do much except to
confirm what Frank put together nicely as his point 6:

6) GeoTools - I strongly support the board recognising that the GeoTools
contributor agreement grants contributors very broad permission to do
what they want with their code contribution including relicensing it. I
do not believe any other relicensing of the GeoTools code base should
take place at this time without a firm recommendation from the GeoTools

I hope this is enough information so that we can make this an official
confirmation. This should not be necessary becasue the legal text is
clear but we have been requested to confirm this so here goes:

The board confirms that (verbatim copy from the CLA): "The Foundation
grants the Contributor the non­exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable,
worldwide, royalty­free, license to use, copy, prepare derivative works
of, publicly display or perform, and distribute the Submission (1)."
This includes relicensing their own contributions under another license.

(1) A "Submission" means any work of authorship that is sent by the
Contributor (whether via the electronic exchange of such work of
authorship or otherwise) to any Geotools Server, including without
limitation code, scripts, documentation such as text and image
instructions, descriptions, explanations, or comments, data such as
tabular data, raster imagery or vector geometry files, and any other
material that can be incorporated into the Geotools Project.

The other reasons I put this item on the agenda was to find out how much
we know about what is going on in and around OSGeo. We obviously have a
bit of a hands-off management attitude, otherwise there would be no way
of getting things done. And yes, we should make sure that things that
can be done should be done in the committees. But the board - or some
other entitiy in the organization - also has to make sure we keep track
of what goes on outside of OSGeo. Bascially we just have to make sure we
keep our ears and eyes open. And there is so much (good) noise that it
is sometimes hard to hear the dissonant stuff.

How many on the board know that there has been a fork of gvSIG [1]? Is
that an OSGeo project in incubation now (obviously not, it is more of a
rhetoric question)? But it is based on the same source code and some of
the same people are involved, so what does this mean for OSGeo? They
have decided to not make a fuss about it and left things as they are.
What about our other projects? Can we be sure that they still function
according to the rules they were once tested against? No, because we
never check.

Having said that I do think that we do a pretty good job at being
impartial, I just want to make sure that we don't forget that as we
grow. We currently have 24 projects listed on osgeo.org, each with their
own way of doing things and we do not enforce any kind of feedback on
which we could establish some kind of control. I believe that we must
implement something here.


[1] http://gvsigce.org/

Seven of Nine
Exploring Body, Space and Mind

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