[Incubator] Mapbender Incubator Process

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Wed Apr 5 15:14:39 EDT 2006

Arnulf Christl wrote:
> Hi all,
> Uli requests for legal advice on the following external libraries:
> http://wiki.osgeo.org/index.php/Mapbender_Provenance_Review#External_Library_Review 
> Could you please comment.


Hopefully Rich will provide a more authoritative response, but my take
would be that:

  o The public domain modules (class.pdf.php and class.ezpdf.php) can
    be relicensed as you wish.  That this is a fundamental aspect of
    public domain code.  My suggestion is that you relicense it under
    the LGPL (your project license, right?) but make sure the original
    author is properly credited.  I believe the LGPL addresses the
    "no warranty" issue.  The main caveat I would offer is that I have
    heard advice that there is no such thing as "public domain" in some
    countries (ie. much of Europe) and so the author placing something in
    the public domain may not in fact be sufficient to allow you to
    relicense.  Perhaps Rich can address that?

  o If mod_treefolder isn't too fundamental to Mapbender, then you
    might consider offering it as an extra download to keep it
    distinct from the core package.  Alternatively, it might make
    sense to contact the author and ask for permission to offer
    a copy of it under the LGPL.  It may also be sufficient to make
    it very clear in a README.LICENSE or something similar that is
    distributed with the package that mod_treefolder is under a
    different license.   I'm not sure how some of the LGPL concepts
    of what constitutes a library apply in PHP.

> == Report to the Committee ==
> This is an informal update of the PSC to the Incubator Committee.
> Mapbender code has been cleaned out (some documentation is still 
> missing). It is very clean (this is the first time that we sort of are a 
> little proud of this. Weird :-).
> We are about to dump the code into SVN  and will then continue with 
> review. When that is done it will be possible to lock code for editing 
> which helps to spread the code review across several developers better.
> We have decided to leave the history behind at SourceForge as it will 
> stay available there until the end of days. As we have cleaned out the 
> code and merged two branches some months ago we do not expect any larger 
> issues.

I am curious why you are choosing to leave behind history. From my
point of view, retained source control history is a useful tool if we
ever need to track details of the source of code, or defend it in court.
I would feel more comfortable if all projects could retain their history
though it isn't clear to me that this really very important.

> I could not yet beat any final statement out of all contributors 
> regarding copyright or adopting an OSGeo license OSGeo foundation. 

Are you referring to contributor agreements?  Assigning copyright to
the foundation?  Something else?  There is no need to change who holds
the copyright or to adopt a license other than LGPL though this might
be a good time to consider other options.

 > Seems
> like they feel that as I am part of the OSGeo AND Mapbender PSC sofa I 
> will take care of everything. They don't seem to think or even talk 
> about it. And obviously they also won't listen to me. So I need to 
> expose them a bit to the official nature of this process.

Building awareness and getting involvement in the OSGeo incubation process
is a challenge for all the projects I think.

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    | President OSGF, http://osgeo.org

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