[legal-discuss] Licensing options for new project (Kolla) entering big tent

Doug Hellmann doug at doughellmann.com
Thu Jul 9 20:54:09 UTC 2015

Excerpts from Richard Fontana's message of 2015-07-09 16:34:47 -0400:
> On Thu, Jul 09, 2015 at 04:08:16PM -0400, Zane Bitter wrote:
> > The by-laws require only that anything in the
> > TC Approved Release be distributed under the ASL. That said, it is
> > completely up to the TC which projects to accept into OpenStack, and it
> > would be well within its rights to reject one that e.g. could never be added
> > to the Approved Release because of an incompatible license.
> That might help explain the requirement at
> https://github.com/openstack/governance/blob/master/reference/new-projects-requirements.rst
> "Project must have no library dependencies which effectively restrict
> how the project may be distributed or deployed"
> but it should then be taken to mean "Project must have no library
> dependencies which effectively prevent the project from being
> distributed under the Apache License 2.0" (I'll assume that makes
> sense in a given context).
> That being so, I am not sure I understand this one
> "The proposed project uses an open source license (preferably the
> Apache v2.0 license, since it is necessary if the project wants to be
> used in an OpenStack trademark program)"
> Because, given that the OpenStack Foundation uses CLAs that give it
> the power to license out everything under the Apache License, why does
> it matter whether the proposed project is initially under an open
> source license that is not the Apache License?
> For example, suppose a new official OpenStack project is under the
> GPL. What's the obstacle to it later being included in the TC Approved
> Release? All that's necessary is for the Foundation to relicense it
> under the Apache License. Or is the concern that a (say) GPL-licensed
> project might have had a pre-OpenStack history including contributions
> from individuals or entities that are not CLA signatories?
> Essentially I am asking - how could it be that a project could never
> be added to the Approved Release because of an incompatible license?
> Richard

This may be one of those belt-and-suspenders situations where we didn't
want to have to explain to someone that, yes, we could in fact relicense
code they thought they put under the GPL because of the CLA. Or maybe we
didn't realize we had that power in the first place.


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