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From Sam Ruby <ru...@intertwingly.net>
Subject Re: code contribution licensing question
Date Thu, 13 Jan 2011 16:14:06 GMT
On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 1:22 AM, Jennifer O'Neill <jennifer626@gmail.com> wrote:
> The purpose of having all committers sign the ICLA is so that all "Apache"
> code is licensed uniformly and ASF is better protected if there's a
> challenge to the ownership of the IP.
> If a developer wishes to contribute some material amount of code but can't
> sign the ICLA, then his/her code contribution is evaluated just like any
> other third-party code licensed under terms other than the ASL v.2.0.  I
> assume that by the modified BSD, you mean the newer version that excludes
> the advertising clause.  This license is compatible with the ASL v.2.0 and
> there are certainly a number of Apache projects with dependencies on
> BSD-licensed code.  Ultimately, though, it is up to the VCL project
> committers whether to use any third-party code.

I'd like to draw attention to Jennifer's use of the word 'dependency'
here.  I agree: if VCL wanted to have an external dependency on a
BSD-licensed KVM provisioning module then this would be no problem if
the dependency was documented properly.

'Including' or 'merging' is a different matter entirely.  One of the
reasons for the ICLA is that section 3 makes an explicit grant of all
of the necessary patent licenses that the Contributor may have on the
combination of this code with the project to which they are
contributing.  Section 4 clarifies this with respect to individuals
who have employers.

The net of this is that 'including' or 'merging' of such code is not
something that we would routinely allow.  That is not to say that it
can't be done -- if you look around you will find tiny bits of public
domain code in various projects.  It is a matter of evaluating the
risks and the benefits on a case by case basis, and (should the
decision be to proceed) documenting all of this properly in the
various files that accompany a release.

- Sam Ruby

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