[opam-devel] Opam license bug

Mark Shinwell mshinwell at janestreet.com
Tue Jan 19 11:18:24 GMT 2016

Just a small thing to add.  It seems to me that the real value of OPAM
is as part of the fabric of the OCaml community.  It's that community
that drives the development of the language---and indeed in some cases
provides the means for people to be gainfully employed on projects
related to that language.  As such, the first priority would seem to
be ensuring that OPAM's development can be as fast and sustainable as
possible.  To my mind having a simple BSD (or Apache, but be careful
of incompatibility with LGPL) licence is probably the most reliable
way of helping achieve that goal.

(Aside: I'm not sure even that completely negates the need for a CLA,
although you would need to ask a lawyer to be more certain.  For
example, if some organisation wishes to use OPAM and do IP due
diligence upon the code, they may be interested in such documents
attesting to the origin of the code and who the copyright holders are.
Perhaps the CLA would also provide greater protection to the
organisation acting as the "guardian" of OPAM.  However if the CLA
were to be a standard one that does not involve copyright transfer
(for example, the upstream OCaml one, being very similar to that of
the Apache Foundation) and the licence were permissive, the worst case
is probably people dissuaded by the burden of submitting a CLA rather
than people refusing to contribute on the grounds of the licence.)

What's the worst case with a BSD licence?  Maybe Microsoft will use
the code for the next package manager for Windows.  Or maybe Apple
will, and then you'll be famous.


On 19 January 2016 at 11:03, Jeremie Dimino <jdimino at janestreet.com> wrote:
> (adding Mark)
> On Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 8:47 AM, Daniel Bünzli <daniel.buenzli at erratique.ch>
> wrote:
>> Le mardi, 19 janvier 2016 à 08:56, Roberto Di Cosmo a écrit :
>> > So, well, first of all, let me totally and deeply disagree on the
>> > cursorily repeated assertions in this thread that imply that GPL is BAD and
>> > BSD is GOOD. This kind of generic self asserting statements are ok among
>> > kids, not grown up persons able to master a sophisticated language like
>> > OCaml.
>> If you had actually taken time to read me rather than make pointless
>> inflammatory comments, you would have realized that I never implied this at
>> any point in the discussion.
>> So to help your inability to read here's a summary of what I said:
>> 1. Having the LGPL and the proposed unfair CLA is inacceptable. It is
>> harmful to the growth of the project and hence given the status of the
>> project in the OCaml community to the latter itself.
>> 2. If OCamlPro wants to have more leeway to do whatever it wishes with
>> opam and its contributions they should rather license it under a more
>> liberal license and avoid the CLA.
>> 3. I'm perfectly fine if opam stays with the LGPL. I'm not however fine
>> with the added CLA.
>> So now do actually try to act like a grown up person and comment on the
>> actual problem which is the unfair CLA, not the LGPL vs BSD problem.
>> Best,
>> Daniel
>> _______________________________________________
>> opam-devel mailing list
>> opam-devel at lists.ocaml.org
>> http://lists.ocaml.org/listinfo/opam-devel
> --
> Jeremie

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