[License-discuss] OpenSSL License Change

Michael Dexter editor at callfortesting.org
Wed Mar 29 01:04:46 UTC 2017

Hello all,

I did a quick review of the recent list traffic and did not find any 
mention of the OpenSSL license change:


In short, the appear to be attempting a clean-up of their license which 
currently is largely permissive but includes an advertising clause.

The proposed solution to any and all current issues, real or perceived, 
is a move to the Apache license.

Speaking from a BSD community perspective, this is not necessarily 
progress. If the advertising clause is truly the issue, that can be 
fixed just as the University of California, Berkeley demonstrated with 
their infamous clause that they resolved with a blanket permission to 
remove the clause:


If a specific definition of "business friendliness" is desired by their 
constituents that they believe will be solved by the patent clause of 
the Apache license, a supplemental patent clause can be added, as 
Facebook has demonstrated with their recent Zstandard compression library:

Zstandard - Fast real-time compression algorithm http://www.zstd.net

For the more philosophical, the move also marks a move from copyright 
law to contract law which could bring complications for some consumers.

Finally, the OpenSSL/Linux Foundation team are insisting that silence 
from contributors can be equated with their full agreement with the 
move. The legality of this assertion as been questioned, albeit by 

"If we do not hear from you, we will assume that you have no objection."


I for one am hoping to get the three main BSD Foundations to make a 
statement on this and I welcome your input. I will be first to say that 
I am not a lawyer and am at the mercy of experts.

I *can* however say with confidence that "we're changing the license of 
the software you are working on and are hoping you will not notice nor 
respond" (Notably regarding LibreSSL, the fork developed by OpenBSD) is 
not welcome by any software community.

All the best,

Michael Dexter

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