[openstack-dev] [tc][kolla] Ansible module with GPLv3

Jeremy Stanley fungi at yuggoth.org
Sat Nov 5 14:08:29 UTC 2016

On 2016-11-04 16:38:45 -0700 (-0700), Clint Byrum wrote:
> Modules are not plugins.
> This only refers to dynamic inventory, which is hardly even a plugin
> interface.
> Strategy plugins run in ansible itself and must import pieces of Ansible,
> and thus must be GPLv3:

On further reading I mostly concur. Unfamiliarity with Ansible led
me to believe they used the terms plug-in and module
interchangeably, and I missed that the "strategy" qualifier was key
to Michał's original problem statement. Strategy plugins do seem to
generally import lots of GPLv3 licensed Python modules from Ansible
and call into them, which under conventional wisdom makes the result
a derivative work of Ansible that therefore needs to be distributed
under a license compatible with GPLv3 (Apache2 would qualify
according to the FSF).

So presumably as long as the software in question is written from
scratch without directly reusing code from existing software under
other licenses, it could be distributed under Apache2 (which when
combined with Ansible proper leads to a GPLv3 work as the latter
provides a superset of the conditions for the former). Depending on
who you listen to, this may also mean being careful to only
reference Ansible's API documentation and not look at the underlying
code or at other similar plug-ins, so as to avoid inadvertently
copying some implementation details.

Basically I also concur with Steve's evaluation, and hopefully so
will the legal-discuss ML. In that case, it boils down to whether
the strategy plug-in in question can be written from scratch or for
expediency/convenience must be forked from another. If from scratch
then it doesn't sound like there's any issue including it in the
openstack/kolla repo under one of the OpenStack approved licenses as
long as the Kolla team agrees.

If a fork of, say, another GPLv3 plug-in then there may be legal
reasons for it to belong in a separate repo without ICLA
enforcement... though that's something I'd want to hear from lawyers
since our contributors agree to the ICLA once as a blanket action,
not on a per-repo basis, and there's plenty of software
(particularly among unofficial projects) in our Gerrit for which the
ICLA is not even remotely applicable. If there's no legal
requirement to put it in a separate repo and it can be treated as an
aggregation, then it would just be up to the Kolla team to decide
whether they also find it acceptable or require some logical
separation there for other reasons.
Jeremy Stanley
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