[OpenLayers-Dev] committer access

John R. Frank john.frank at metacarta.com
Fri Oct 20 16:13:00 EDT 2006

Dear OpenLayers Developers,

Several of our fantastic contributors have requested commit rights to the
OpenLayers Subversion repository.  For a while, we were in a quandry about
how to do this in a way that did not open the possibility for the
infringment of patents held by MetaCarta, which holds the copyright to the
OpenLayers code base.  With some help from our lawyers, we figured it out.

Code and content in the !OpenLayers SVN repository at
http://svn.openlayers.org/ and this wiki at http://trac.openlayers.org/ is
licensed under a modified BSD license with an additional provision that
excludes from the license grant any technologies for which MetaCarta has a
patent or has applied for a patent.

All code published on http://www.openlayers.org/, including hosted API
files and source tarballs, will continue to be released under the
widely-used BSD license that OpenLayers has always used.

This special repository license allows the project to offer SVN commit
rights to a broader group of contributors.  The reason for this is legal:
Having funded the initial development of OpenLayers, MetaCarta holds
copyright on the project's source, as dictated by international copyright
law.  The company also holds or has applied for patents in related
technical domains.  The repository license is a compromise taken on by the
OpenLayers Project Steering Committee.  It supports the Open Source
development process without risking infringement of MetaCarta's patents.
When MetaCarta transfers copyright ownership to another party, like the
OSGeo Foundation, this special repository license can be changed or

For information on how to become a committer, read

I regret the burden of this modified license.  We are working hard to
follow through on our promise of giving OpenLayers to the community, so it
can be truly Open Source.  We hope this method of expanding committer
rights will make it easier for individuals in the community to have a
greater stake in OpenLayers, even before we find an appropriate host for
the copyright.


John R. Frank <john.frank at metacarta.com>
Founder and CTO
MetaCarta, Inc.

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