[TangerineSDR] Tangerine licensing

John Ackermann N8UR jra at febo.com
Tue Apr 7 11:37:20 EDT 2020

Sure, and let's include BillE as well.

On 4/7/20 11:35 AM, Dr. Nathaniel A. Frissell Ph.D. wrote:
> Hi John,
> I agree. I just replied to the thread on the main list. I am realizing that this is a bit complicated, because of the fact we are using federal grant money and there are a number of collaborating institutions. On the plus side, we have the original grant proposal as the original agreement to point to. Also, there are NSF policies that may provide guidance.
> Since the University of Scranton is officially the lead institution on this grant, I think I need to work with our Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in developing this agreement. We are also going to involve the other collaborating institutions.
> Before I go off sending them an e-mail, do you guys want to have a chat/telecon to talk about this a bit more?
> 73 de Nathaniel 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: TangerineSDR <tangerinesdr-bounces at lists.tapr.org> On Behalf Of John Ackermann N8UR via TangerineSDR
> Sent: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 11:05 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.
> 73,
> John
> ----
> 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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