[ocaml-infra] ocaml.org licensing

Ashish Agarwal agarwal1975 at gmail.com
Mon Feb 10 14:20:54 GMT 2014

Dear all,

The content and implementation of the OCaml.org website do not have
licenses specified, which should be fixed. Our goal is to encourage
contributions, give appropriate credit to contributors, and maximize the
utility of the website for the entire OCaml community. We would like the
community's feedback on the following proposal:

(A) Content is released under CC BY-SA 4.0 [1].
(B) Code that implements the site is released under the ISC license [2].
(C) Code examples within content are released under the UNLICENSE [3].
(D) Design of the site. All rights reserved by the OCaml.org project.
(E) OCaml logo is released under the UNLICENSE [3].
(F) Abstracts, slides from meetings. Rights retained by contributor.

Here is our reasoning for each of the above:

(A) Content refers to text that is visible by readers at
http://ocaml.org(except for code; see (C) below). We'd like others to
be able to use these
materials but we don't want to create a situation where content that is
freely given to the community (which amounts to a substantive volume of
work) is then taken and monetized without giving back.

The CC BY-SA 4.0 license [1] allows anyone to share and adapt the work,
including for commercial gain, as long as that work is also released under
the same (or compatible) license. This means that commercial works could be
produced but free versions would also have to be made available. Thus, the
community wouldn't lose out on any derivative work.

(B) Code that implements ocaml.org. We want the code implementing the site
to be open source and available for others to use as they wish. Examples of
this include the files found under the 'script' folder of the repository
[6]. The ISC licence [2] has already been chosen for OMD and MPP, two
libraries that OCaml.org relies on substantially. Additional scripts are
not particularly complex in nature, and we feel their use should not be

(C) Code examples within content. For example, you can see many of these on
the 99 problems page [5]. These are typically small pieces of useful code
and we want people to be able to use them however they see fit. We want to
do this without the burden of attribution that an open source license (e.g.
ISC) would require, so placing them in the public domain seems like the
sensible thing to do. The UNLICENSE [3] is one way of putting works in the
public domain and is how code examples in Real World OCaml are released [4].

(D) Design of the site. This is essentially the CSS, banner image, and
custom logos (except the OCaml logo, see (E) below). The design uniquely
identifies ocaml.org, and it would be awkward if another site looked
similar. It seems sensible to reserve all rights over the design and
disallow copying it in any form.

(E) The new OCaml logo [7], which you see in the top-left of ocaml.org,
should be encouraged. We hope this can be a unifying symbol of all things
related to OCaml. Everyone should use this logo in their OCaml blogs,
websites, documentation, presentations, T-shirts, stickers, etc. Thus, it
should be usable freely by all, which can be achieved by releasing it under

(F) OCaml.org also hosts abstracts and slides for various meetings, such as
the OCaml Users and Developers Workshop. Contributors should retain all
rights over those works or be subject to whatever agreement they have with
the respective meeting. They are not considered part of the Content as
defined in (A).

[1] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
[2] http://opensource.org/licenses/ISC
[3] http://unlicense.org
[4] https://github.com/realworldocaml/examples/blob/master/UNLICENSE
[5] http://ocaml.org/learn/tutorials/99problems.html
[6] https://github.com/ocaml/ocaml.org
[7] http://ocaml.org/img/ocaml.png
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