[TangerineSDR] Tangerine licensing

Dr. Nathaniel A. Frissell Ph.D. nathaniel.frissell at scranton.edu
Tue Apr 7 11:29:51 EDT 2020

Hi all, and thanks Bill and John,

We definitely need to get this worked out very soon. I think this is not as simple as we would like it to be, since federal funding is involved and multiple institutions are officially listed as collaborators. I think we are going to need to establish a policy that all of the institutions can sign on to.

We have at least one guiding document that we need to adhere to, and that is the originally funded NSF proposal. Along with that, there and the laws and rules associated with accepting that funding, as well as the institutional rules from each of the collaborating/subcontracted universities. I should note that the original proposal states that we will make the PSWS plans and software open, but does not specify a specific license.

I realize that this is something that needs to be resolved soon. Since Scranton is the lead institution, I am going to get in touch with our Office of Sponsored Research and get more guidance on developing an agreement. I'll be in touch with the PIs/leads from our collaborating universities/organizations to get this figured out.

Thanks for bringing this up.

VY 73 de Nathaniel W2NAF

-----Original Message-----
From: TangerineSDR <tangerinesdr-bounces at lists.tapr.org> On Behalf Of Engelke, Bill via TangerineSDR
Sent: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 11:18 AM
To: TAPR TangerineSDR Modular Software Defined Radio <tangerinesdr at lists.tapr.org>
Cc: Engelke, Bill <bill.engelke at ua.edu>
Subject: Re: [TangerineSDR] Tangerine licensing

To all - I request that UA be kept in the loop on these discussions. I personally don't have the authority to make binding decisions on the part of UA, but I can make sure that the right people are involved. For the record, I believe (and will advocate for) that all software should be open source and freely available for re-use same as the code developed by John Melton and Pavel Demin. (Will GPL accomplish that?)  Based on my past experience, since the project has NSF funding, I believe the software becomes public domain (someone might want to clarify that)...   -73- Bill AB4EJ

-----Original Message-----
From: TangerineSDR <tangerinesdr-bounces at lists.tapr.org> On Behalf Of John Ackermann N8UR via TangerineSDR
Sent: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 10:05 AM
To: Dr. Nathaniel A. Frissell Ph.D. via TangerineSDR <tangerinesdr at lists.tapr.org>; Scott Cowling <scotty at tonks.com>; Steven Bible <steven.bible at gmail.com>
Cc: John Ackermann N8UR <jra at febo.com>
Subject: Re: [TangerineSDR] Tangerine licensing

Just to Nathaniel, SteveB, Scotty --

We probably should have a conversation about licensing for the PSWS project to get this settled.  Much, much better to do it sooner rather than later.


On 4/7/20 8:30 AM, Dr. Nathaniel A. Frissell Ph.D. via TangerineSDR wrote:
> Hi John,
> Is it possible to start with GPL and then relicense as BSD if needed? I think this gives us the most protection now, and opens the possibility for wider adoption in the future.
> 73 de Nathaniel W2NAF
>> Dr. Nathaniel A. Frissell, Ph.D., W2NAF HamSCI Lead Assistant 
> Professor Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering University 
> of Scranton
> (973) 787-4506
>> On Apr 2, 2020, at 11:18 PM, Rob Wiesler via TangerineSDR <tangerinesdr at lists.tapr.org> wrote:
>> On Thu, Apr 02, 2020 at 11:45:07 -0400, John Ackermann N8UR via TangerineSDR wrote:
>>> We should formalize the requirements for licensing Tangerine 
>>> hardware and software work product.
>>> For software, I would recommend simply requiring an OSF-approved 
>>> open source license.  We should consider a copyright assignment from 
>>> contributors, as discussed below.  While I'd personally prefer to 
>>> use GPL, that could be an inhibiting factor for some organizations 
>>> that might be involved so I'm comfortable with allowing any OSF license.
>> We often won't have very much leeway to choose a license.  For 
>> instance, GNU Radio plugins will probably have to be GPLed, as they 
>> are derivative works of GNU Radio.
>> It's good to note that bounding software components (and their
>> licenses) tightly makes a lot of licensing issues go away.  For 
>> instance, we'll probably want our GNU Radio-related components to 
>> consume input and publish output in a standardized fashion anyway, 
>> but as a side effect, this means that whatever's on either side of 
>> those components won't be a derived work, meaning it won't have to be 
>> GPLed.  And if we do choose to use the GPL for any components, 
>> properly defining the limits of the license are critical - for 
>> instance, it's common to license libraries under a variant of the GPL 
>> that specifically mentions that it's okay to link against OpenSSL, so 
>> that users of the library don't have to choose between the two 
>> libraries (as the GPL is incompatible [0] with the Apache 1.0 license that OpenSSL used to be licensed under).
>> By the way, OpenSSL did switch to Apache 2.0, which is compatible 
>> with the GPL (version 3 only) (asymmetrically - see [2]).  They did 
>> this using a Contributer License Agreement [1] (which often involves 
>> a copyright assignment).  It still took them two or three years to 
>> complete the process, because they had to hunt down every single 
>> contributer whose copyrighted code remained in the project and ask 
>> them to switch licenses (just identifying them is often 
>> nigh-impossible if your version control history isn't up to the 
>> task).  Then, for everyone who doesn't respond or refuses, the 
>> project had to replace what they wrote with something written from 
>> scratch under the new license.  Having a Contributer License 
>> Agreement means that the project (or a trustee) holds copyright over 
>> everything, or otherwise has been granted the rights necessary to 
>> simply change the license for everything in the project.
>> Here's some reading material:
>> [0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenSSL#Licensing
>> [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contributor_License_Agreement
>> [2] https://www.apache.org/licenses/GPL-compatibility.html
>> Here's a project I've been dealing with recently that has a license 
>> proliferation problem that has personally caused me grief:
>> [3] https://github.com/u-boot/u-boot/tree/master/Licenses
>> Here's a handy way to make it possible to determine what a file's 
>> license is in an automated fashion (which is more useful than you'd 
>> think, even when taking into account this statement):
>> [4] https://spdx.org/using-spdx-license-identifier
>> As far as a specific license to use (when we can choose), I'm quite 
>> happy with the GPL, but won't complain if a non-reciprocal license is 
>> chosen (for any given software component).  Everything I write at 
>> work is under the BSD 3 Clause license, except where the GPL is 
>> required (or simplifies things).
>> --
>> TangerineSDR mailing list
>> TangerineSDR at lists.tapr.org
>> http://lists.tapr.org/mailman/listinfo/tangerinesdr_lists.tapr.org

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