A few weeks ago, OpenNTF's Board unanimously
approved an update to the Intellectual Property Policy. I know – people's
eyes glaze over when you talk about IP issues and open source – however,
these changes are going to affect the look and feel of the site, and perhaps
the way you use OpenNTF contributions.
The main thrust of the changes is replacing
the concept of the “Catalog” with the concept of “Clearing” releases.
Before, any project release that was cleared was then placed into the Apache
or GPL Catalog. However, most people had no idea what it meant if a release
was in the Catalog. So, we are simply tagging every release so that you
can easily see if it has been “cleared” or not.
And what does it mean when something
is cleared? Well, we do a code scan of the release to check that:
the contributors are all covered by
an ICLA or CCLA;
any 3rd party code is listed in the
Notice file – along with information on its license;
that the licenses for any 3rd party
code are open source and compatible;
and that there is some documentation
for the release.
Coupled with this change in the IP Policy
is a change in the look and feel associated with accessing releases.
1. Code downloads will only be accessible
from pages that contain the license information for the release, (ie Apache
or GPL) and whether the code has been cleared. This improves the visibility
of the code clearance.
2. The clearance flag will have a link
to a description of what clearance means.
3. Once a release is cleared - no-one
can modify it (without creating a new release).
Note that no clearance process is infallible.
It is always possible that inappropriatly licensed code escapes detection.
So, as it states in the IP Policy - “The licensee is also solely responsible
for determining the appropriateness of using and distributing the code
and assumes all risks associated with its use of the code“.
As always – let me know if you have
any questions about OpenNTF IP issues.