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From Chris Anderson <>
Subject Re: Licensing is not important
Date Wed, 12 Aug 2009 20:14:21 GMT
On Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 1:09 PM, Damien Katz<> wrote:
> Thank you Bernd. The CouchDB PMC and anyone else interested in contributing
> to development should take this advice to heart.
> -Damien

There's an interesting discussion of the Apache License in a few
recent blog posts here, which digs into some of the nuances. It's from
the perspective of the APL outside of the ASF, but touches on a lot of
this pragmatic stuff.

Also has good comments.


> On Aug 11, 2009, at 4:33 AM, Bernd Fondermann wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I'd like to try and maybe provide some insights on the topic of
>> licensing, dependencies, IP and so on.
>> The current discussion mainly focuses on licensing, but this is only
>> one aspect. If including some specificly licensed code is allowed or
>> not is not always a binary decision. You can have very bad
>> ASL-licensed code.
>> At first, a quick example: Two developers, Mathilda and Sven start a
>> cool open source project A. Sven finds some nifty third party open
>> source library B which (as code) they include in their own repository.
>> They make a release, they fix some bugs and their project quickly
>> gains attraction. Company BigCo uses their product and they are very
>> happy with it, they even hire Mathilda as a consultant for some time
>> and release their own product "BigCo DB".
>> Then, one day, small company Moronz & Sons sues BigCo for patent
>> infrigement. Oops, library B implemented an algorithm which Moronz &
>> Sons hold a patent on (or claim some other IP for).
>> BigCo is no longer so happy and now sues poor developer Mathilda,
>> because they can. The shit hit the fan. Mathilda is broke after
>> fighting BigCo, Sven is scared away. Project is dead.
>> To prevent anything like this, the ASF has put up all these processes
>> and firewalls like being a foundation, having insurance, having a PMC,
>> requesting CLAs and code grants, having licensing policies, holding
>> votes etc. It's for the sole purpose to secure the code we are
>> developing here to be freely distributed to our users.
>> Often, these are only seen as tedious, bureaucratic overhead. And
>> indeed they are. They aren't fun. But they can make you as developers
>> and your users more relaxed that nothing bad comes out of it.
>> So I suggest to be double careful. Don't discuss licenses only. Look
>> at the code. Make sure the stuff you are distributing is your own and
>> you know it is safe to distribute. Otherwise, back it out, check with
>> the original developers, re-implement, request code grants etc. That's
>> the task of the PMC. By +1ing a release you say that all this is
>> properly checked.
>> I like CouchDB quite a lot and when I use it I want to be absolutely
>> sure I'm safe both using it and suggesting it to my customers.
>> Thanks,
>>  Bernd

Chris Anderson

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