Draft: License policy for contributors

Matthieu Herrb matthieu.herrb at laas.fr
Tue Dec 2 12:04:47 PST 2008

Adam Jackson wrote:
> In light of the recent GLX relicensing, it was brought up to the board
> that our contribution policy is not really explicitly written down
> anywhere.  The following is a licensing policy draft that's hopefully
> pretty uncontentious.  Eventually this (or something like it) will go up
> on the wiki, and patches from casual contributors should be accepted
> with a note to the contributor of what they're agreeing to (and new
> developers should be pointed at it when getting their commit bit).
> Note that this isn't a _change_ in policy so much as an attempt to
> capture what we already intend.  If you think this is a good opportunity
> to lobby for a switch to GPL or CDDL or WTFPL or whatever, that's nice
> and all, but please don't.
> I don't know what our documentation licensing stance is.  MIT would keep
> things simple, but I don't know if it's appropriate for docs.

I'm in favour of keeping the MIT license for docs too, for the sake of

> At any rate, feedback greatly appreciated.
> ---
> The X.Org Foundation is dedicated to improving the open source reference
> implementation of the X Window System for the benefit of all.  To this
> end, code and documentation contributions are required to be under a
> suitably permissive license.  The preferred code license is the MIT
> license; the canonical form of the MIT license is here: [ insert link to
> version with generic "THE AUTHORS" rather than explicit author names ].
> [ XXX doc license? ]
> For small changes, including patches sent through a bug tracker or
> mailing list, changes are assumed to be under the MIT license.  If you
> do not agree to this, please refrain from sending us such patches in the
> first place, and ask to have your changes reverted if necessary.
> For contributions of new code and large subsystems, the code must be
> annotated with a copy of the MIT license (or a reference to same).
> Contributions under licenses other than MIT will be considered on a case
> by case basis, but in general are very unlikely to be accepted.
> Foundation developers are defined as those people with commit access to
> the Foundation repositories.  In applying for (and accepting) developer
> status, you implicitly agree to these license policy terms for the
> Foundation works themselves.  Note that your right to create derived
> works under different licenses is not restricted, they just won't be
> formal Foundation projects.
> For all changes, you as contributor warrant that you have the right to
> contribute the code in question under the license terms described here.
> For its part, the Foundation will work to maintain permissive grant of
> rights for all code and documentation in its projects.  In the event
> that the Foundation decides to change licensing on one or more files,
> permission will only be sought from copyright holders as listed in the
> explicit Copyright statements at the top of the appropriate files.
> Casual contributions without assertions of copyright will not be
> interpreted as an assignment or relinquishing of copyright, but will be
> interpreted as a waiver of interest in the precise license terms.
> Note that under the terms of the MIT license, you effectively already
> waive your right to prevent use of your work under more restrictive
> terms (for example, under the GPLv2), and that it's quite difficult to
> come up with a more permissive license than MIT.  The waiver in the
> previous paragraph is really only for the case that we somehow discover
> that, for example, a file was really under the Apache license and we
> needed to relicense it to maintain MIT-ness, or that some clause of MIT
> becomes unpleasantly restrictive in some jurisdiction.

Sounds good.
Matthieu Herrb

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