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From Leo Simons <m...@leosimons.com>
Subject SableVM? -- ICLA details (was: Contributing SableVM?)
Date Thu, 23 Mar 2006 09:00:21 GMT
On Thu, Mar 23, 2006 at 02:23:20AM -0500, Etienne Gagnon wrote:
> > b) hopefully an ICLA from each contributor
> 
> The ICLA rules are less restrictive than the Apache License rules:
> 
> 2. Grant of Copyright License. Subject to the terms and conditions of
>    this Agreement, You hereby grant to the Foundation and to
>    recipients of software distributed by the Foundation a perpetual,
>    worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable
>    copyright license to reproduce, prepare derivative works of,
>    publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute Your
>    Contributions and such derivative works.
> 
> Unless I missed something, this not force the ASF to abide by the Apache
> License 2.0 rules. 

I think this is true and intentional.

> So, for example, the ASF could sublicense
> derivatives of our work under any license it wants, without even
> acknowledging our contribution in a NOTICE file.

"When hell freezes over..."

You know, I'm actually not so sure to what extent the ASF can sublicense/
relicense stuff contributed under the terms of an ICLA. I guess it
indeed goes pretty far (been a while since I read the ICLA).

However...

1) the ASF generally does not have ICLAs for every contribution -- so a
   lot of things are licensed to the ASF under only the Apache License
   (in some cases still the 1.1 license I believe);

2) the ASF is a non-profit foundation with a Board and a Membership who
   on average would rather quit their day job and move to Japan (or say
   they live there now, Europe), and eat old shoes for the rest of their
   life rather than changing something fundamental like acknowledging
   contributions;

3) the ASF has a 10-year spot-clean track record of doing this kind of
   stuff properly.

...and for me personally this has meant enough trust in the ASF to not
have any problem with signing an ICLA.

I believe (but am not sure) that contributing things under the terms of
an ICLA rather than under the terms of the Apache License makes it
somewhat easier for the ASF to legally protect its contributors, and it
makes keeping an IP track record easier (since it is paperwork that you
sign rather than a mutual license agreement you implicitly accept or
something like that). But I'm not a lawyer and I'm always a little confused
by how that kind of thing works.

I believe that having relevant ICLAs is desireable but not always a
neccessary condition for the ASF to accept a contribution. However...

Having signed and sent in an ICLA is a requirement prior to receiving a
user account on any ASF hardware and hence is a requirement for commit
privileges to any part of the ASF subversion repository, and I really
doubt that this is something that will change. I suspect clause #7 of the
ICLA has something to do with that.

So my current understanding is that while having an ICLA for all the SableVM
contributors would be nice, having an ICLA for all the SableVM developers
who are to become harmony committers is a hard requirement.

> Most SableVM authors do not agree to allow derivative works not to
> clearly aknowledge their contribution.  This is our only real
> retribution for the work we contribute.

I understand this and this makes sense.

> I understand that it is critical, for the ASF, to design new licenses,
> but rule "2." above seems too permissive, at first sight.
> 
> Have I missed something?

I don't think so but I'm not completely sure ("Why do we still need
these CLAs now that we have the 2.0 license?" was a FAQ a while back
around here and the answer is not well-documented). Geir?


cheers,


Leo

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