Apache License Yes, Apache CLA No

In a thread on Twitter, the CTO at Chef Software defended the company against the accusation from an open source contributor that it demands copyright assignment from contributors. Chef’s CTO Adam Jacob explained that the company does copy Apache rules and thus requires a copyright license agreement (CLA) in addition to Apache’s open source license – not copyright assignment. He said:

we have never asked for copyright assignment. We do ask for a license, as Apache license requires.

That’s not actually correct, even if it’s a sufficiently common misunderstanding that Jacob really shouldn’t be called out for asserting it (especially as he was probably just suffering from Twitter’s 140 character limit!). Copying Apache’s license does not imply you should copy the rest of Apache’s CLA practice. The Apache License v2 (ALv2) is the best choice among non-reciprocal licenses for new projects, mostly because it includes explicit patent licensing. It is a perfectly effective license to use for any open source project where the community has no expectation of contribution on the part of users of the code, as it conveys all the rights you need to work with the code independently of others. Continue reading

Digital Life Clippings – December 18th

  1. Samsung shuts down ChatOnCNet – If only there was a way for their customers to uninstall their impotent self-defence against Google.
  2. EU software procurement breaches rules more than ever beforeOFE PDF – Because they really do prefer to feed what they perceive as corporate power brokers rather than work to create European value with European money.
  3. EU allocates half million euros for testing open sourceFSFE – It’s a rounding error on the budget, but at least it’s something. Let’s see who gets it.
  4. Apache finally publishes a code of conductBlog, Code – Fine work, but no really defence against those gaming the system.

CloudStack success not tied to Citrix

Since the news of Citrix’s recent shake up around its CloudStack business, some have been inclined to predict a host of negative consequences for the Apache project moving into the future. At the other end of the spectrum, Giles Sirett a PMC member in the Apache CloudStack project, claims “they [Citrix] have no ‘role.’ CloudStack is driven mainly by its users.”

To see a change in focus at Citrix as an ending point for CloudStack is to disregard the fact that CloudStack is a user-driven community which brilliantly models what Apache does best: providing a neutral space where many users of a code base can come together to quietly and effectively collaborate. Simply donating the original code to open source, doesn’t mean that Citrix has control over the project as it is today. With it’s impressive user list, CloudStack will continue to thrive whatever Citrix’s involvement.

For more on this topic, check out Simon’s article on InfoWorld.