[annotator-dev] Proposal: License Simplification

Jack Park jackpark at topicquests.org
Fri May 29 22:54:08 UTC 2015

Agree on all points. Particularly, the notion that the patent grant clause
makes Apache 2 stand above the original Apache and MIT/BSD licenses; there
has always been a concern that someone could patent some aspect of an OSS
project and block further use of it. A patent clause seems valuable.

On Fri, May 29, 2015 at 3:33 PM, Benjamin Young <bigbluehat at hypothes.is>

> Last fall I posted an issue to GitHub on this topic:
> https://github.com/openannotation/annotator/issues/395
> The conclusion was that this was better discussed on the Mailing List,
> so here we go. :)
> Currently Annotator uses an "either or" licensing scheme (as jQuery
> did pre-2012 [1]).
> I'd like to propose that we simplify this down to either the MIT or
> the Apache 2.0 license.
> Two key things would need to happen to make this a reality:
>  - pick the new license
>  - get the consent of all contributors
>  - state who the copyright holder is--either in the form of "The
> Annotator Contributors" or assign it to a foundation, single person,
> or entity.
> We can use the AUTHORS file and git history to find all the
> contributors. I'm happy to do the "grunt" work to make this happen. I
> was part of a similar process for the Twitter Bootstrap community
> which involved everyone giving consent to the license change in a
> GitHub issue.
> Having a clear license and a stated "owner" (even if it's "all of us")
> makes things much easier for folks wanting to use Annotator in larger
> projects such as enterprise software--which could also provide
> additional contributors, etc.
> Without clear licensing and ownership using Annotator in a larger work
> can be seen (by lawyers mostly) as a risky thing. Removing that FUD
> makes it an easier/faster choice--which means developers can get back
> to developing. :)
> Lastly, I'd personally love to see Annotator choose the Apache 2.0
> license for the additional things it provides over the MIT.
> MIT - http://choosealicense.com/licenses/mit/
> Apache - http://choosealicense.com/licenses/apache-2.0/
> Quick comparison (of those pretty, but non-binding bullet points)
> shows that Apache adds:
>  - the need to state changes
>  - a patent grant (which is why enterprise likes it so much...but
> getting the grant is good for everyone)
>  - prevents name confusion by preventing the use of the trademark
>    -- Annotator is not yet a trademark (afaik), but it would provide
> the opportunity for it to be...which could be helpful.
> Here's a screenshot of the two lists:
> http://cl.ly/image/3e003U3c1T3X
> Lastly, switching to the Apache license opens the door for becoming
> part of the Apache Software Foundation--through the incubation
> process--where Annotator would sit along side some larger projects
> such as Hadoop and CouchDB, but also be able to cozy-up to various
> content management and natural language processing systems under that
> same banner--again, another great opportunity to get Annotator into
> more hands. I'll save proposing that (and it's process) for another
> mail. ;)
> So...in conclusion:
> 1. do we think narrowing to a single license is a Good Thing?
> 2. if so, which license?
> I'm here to help make this happen, but I won't do anything until I
> know it's what the group wants. :)
> Love,
> Benjamin ;)
> --
> Developer Advocate
> http://hypothes.is/
> http://bigbluehat.com/
> [1] http://blog.jquery.com/2012/09/10/jquery-licensing-changes/
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