Sixth Sakai Notes – Licenses,CLAs, and Why They Matter – Which Way Sakai? by Chris Coppola

This is one of a series of posts about the sessions I attended at the Sixth Sakai Conference. See Conference Schedule, which has links to the individual presentations. Many of the sessions were recorded, and most of the presentations can be found online.

Here are my notes/impressions for the talk Licenses,CLAs, and Why They Matter – Which Way Sakai? by Chris Coppola of rSmart, presented Wednesday, 1:30PM. Co-authors include Joe Hardin of the University of Michigan and Barnaby Gibson of ithaka.org.

The presentation can be found in PowerPoint format here.

Much of the material was based on the work done at the Licensing and Policy Summit that I attended back in October. See
Licensing and Policy Summit for Software Sharing in Higher Education: Trip Report
for my trip report.

Here are my notes:

Why CLA (CLA stands for Contributor’s License Agreement, a statement that attests to the authenticity of a contribution to an open-source project):

(1) need it in writing that contribution is forever;

(2) flavors of licenses
– what can you do with the mods
– if you are on a campus, can we use the contribution
– if commercial entity, can use if OSS license doesn’t force you to make code open

(3) need to makek sure code comes in under appropriate license

(4) want to make sure contributors have the right to make that contribution

Sakai uses Educational Community License (ECL), an OSI-approved open-source license

Broader context, 200-2006: Kuali Foundation (financial management), Research management

Anatomy of Community Source (this is not the notion of “community source” in the Microsoft sense):

Sakai is legal entity; inbound license CLA’s and CCLA’s (Corporate CLA, the corporate form of an individual CLA); outbound license ECL; IP management policy; license compatability.

Sakai: 135 items of 3rd party code; 32 different licenses.

NET:

Education for the Sakai community on the Licensing Summit, and report on ongoing work.

Chris mentioned later that they are about to submit revised ECL to the open-source initiative for their review and, hopefully, their approval. New ECL very close to Apache, and community is working with the Apache Software Foundation to include the necessary language in the next version of the Apache License so the whole community can move from ECL to Apache. (The needed changes to Apache License just apply to academic community, and so it is hoped they won’t be a matter of dispute. Cliff Schmidt of the ASF was at the Indianapolis summit, though not at this conference.)

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2 Comments

  1. Posted December 22, 2006 at 05:02 | Permalink | Reply

    Interesting, this is the first time I see a time-frame for ALv2.1 … is there some more information on it around?

  2. Posted December 22, 2006 at 11:12 | Permalink | Reply

    Cliff Schmidt said at the Indianapolis Summit in mid-October that ASF was aiming for mid-2007, but that ASF was very deliberate in revising there license, and so he could make no promises.

    The decision to submit a revised version of ECL to OSI is being done in part to give ASF some breathing room.

    One of the advantages of working in the space of open-source and education is that it really is completely open. As best as I can tell, there are no secret discussions other than when dealing with security bugs, where this is accepted and expected practice.

    For example, my “trip report” on the Licensing Summit was first written as a note just for IBMers. I then revised it and made a blog post here. The two are very close, so for Sakai I’m writing the trip report here in the open, and then will just send a note to interested IBM folks giving them the URL of the blog post. I’m working on the final post now, and hope to publish it soon.

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