[Board] The geotools license agenda item

Seven (aka Arnulf) seven at arnulf.us
Fri Aug 10 01:51:49 PDT 2012

On 08/10/2012 04:29 AM, Martin Desruisseaux wrote:
> Le 10/08/12 08:27, Jody Garnett a écrit :
>> The foundation would justly be annoyed if a PSC relicensed an existing
>> project under a closed source license. The same setup can occur if a
>> contributor is free to set the license of a derived work. Indeed we
>> would be placed in a very strange spot where the header would need to
>> show OSGeo copyright, but the rest of the header could outline a
>> license not in keeping with our goals.

Good point, this should not happen and the current license agreement
does not allow it (in my understanding). We can go on and on becoming
more intricate but probably we have reached a deppth that we should be
comfortable with now. But anyway, let me add another layer of
reassurance that everything is going to be good:

The code header reading the OSGeo copyright cannot stay in place
whenever any portion of the code is (rightfully) relicensed by the
corresponding contributor under a closde license because of this section
of the GeoTools CLA [1]:

In the event the Foundation makes the Submission available to third
parties, it shall do so only in accordance with the requirements of the
by­laws of the Foundation, currently hosted at
http://www.osgeo.org/content/foundation/incorporation/bylaws.html. In
particular, the portions of the Submission integrated to the core
library will be licensed to the third party under a license approved as
an open
source license by the Open Source Initiative, or any substantially
similar license that meets the Open Source Definition or Free Software
Definition. The specific license used will be chosen in suitable
consultation with the group governing the Project.

The OSGeo foundation has bound itself legally to Open Source Licenses
maintained by the OSI. Thus without changing out very bylaws the code
under copyright of OSGeo is also bound to the OSI definition.

In case someone wants to relicense their own code under a non-OSI licene
they will have to remove the OSGeo copyright section. This does not
prevent someone from changing from a copyleft effect license like the
GPL to a permissive BSD/MIT style version under OSGeo copyright header
but that is within the remit of the foundation. If the foundation would
want to be more specific we would have to adopt one specific license
which is to be used by all projects but this is something we we
collectively decided is not what we want. Others like Apache or Eclipse
went down this road but they also have another focus and another set of

> Just for the record, my understanding is that what a contributor do with
> its own contribution has no impact on the project. I mean, a contributor
> can re-license a separated copy of his contribution, but no re-licensing
> done on contributor's side can have any impact on the project license,
> especially not on derivative work done by other peoples. The "derivative
> work" that a contributor can distribute according the Copyright
> Assignment is only the contributor's own derivative work.
>     Martin

I concur with Martin here, thanks for the clarification.

Now: All of what was discussed in this and related threads is pretty
good stuff. But we will forget. And I can see us dig through amil
archives in a few years to avoid having to go through the pain of
learning again. Anbody have a suggestion where we can add paragraphs
like Martin's above so that we find and understand them in a few years?
My unimaginative self would probably post them in the Wiki but maybe
there is better ways to do this now?



Seven of Nine
Exploring Body, Space and Mind

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