[opam-devel] Opam license bug

Yaron Minsky yminsky at janestreet.com
Mon Jan 18 19:50:53 GMT 2016

Daniel, would you be opposed to a CLA if the code were released under a
more liberal license?  For our open source code, Jane Street was advised to
use a CLA, even though we were using a liberal license (Apache, in
particular.)  I'm curious if the CLA itself is a problem, or just the CLA
in combination with a restrictive license?


On Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 2:34 PM Thomas Gazagnaire <thomas at gazagnaire.org>

> Honestly, if we are speaking about re-licensing opam, I am really much in
> favour of a more liberal license: MIT or BSD is so much simpler than
> LGPL+CLA, and we don't really need to make the barrier for contributing
> higher.
> Being there at the beginning, I understand the initial choice of license:
> at the time, the scope of what was being building was not totally clear,
> opam was the first large independent software project developed by OCamlPro
> the company was very young and some kind of protection were needed.
> Nowadays, I think opam is in a very different different situation: it
> became the default package manager for OCaml.
> So I'd rather look at the next steps at how we can now make opam more
> widespread. For instance,  lower the contribution barrier: simpler and more
> re-usable code, more documentation, simpler licensing scheme (BSD is the
> new norm); and  make it fully OCaml independent: in the source code but
> also in the manual, and on its own website (generated from GH pages, with
> manual + roadmap). Lastly, we need all which was discussed on the roadmap
> for 1.3, including windows support :-)
> Best,
> Thomas
> > Le lundi, 18 janvier 2016 à 19:09, Louis Gesbert a écrit :
> >> By having a CLA in place, we ensure we have the hands free to avoid any
> >> further such issues: the problem can't arise again. Yes, it does allow
> us to
> >> re-license the software, or even negociate specific licensing terms with
> >> partners, which sounds quite fair to me. Also, this adds to the range of
> >> theoretical possibilities, but we currently have no plans to monetize
> Opam.
> >
> > So let's be honest about it. From the community point of view there are
> very little incentives to this solution. License changes are rare.
> >
> >> I am curious and would be glad to hear more about it: I intuitively
> don't see
> >> much difference between submitting a contribution BSD-licensed or under
> the
> >> terms of the CLA, from the company's point of view. Am I wrong ?
> >
> > Yes.
> >
> > Opam is LGPL'ed, contributing under the terms of the CLA allows OCamlPro
> to do whatever it wishes with opam and the contributions. But you as a
> contributor are not allowed to do whatever you wish since you are bound by
> LGPL terms. If Opam was under a more liberal license, everyone could do
> whatever it wishes with the code and we'd no even need to have a discussion
> about a CLA.
> >
> > Also from a broader perspective, companies may have rules that say you
> are allowed to contribute to projects that have these specific kind of
> licenses. Having other legalities under the form of CLAs surrounding
> contribution may be a no go because the legal setting is non standard or
> would need to much legal investigations.
> >
> > Best,
> >
> > Daniel
> >
> >
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