[License-discuss] (no subject)

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Fri Sep 1 16:26:30 UTC 2017


I disagree that you can’t get useful adoption without contributions from non-federal entities.

The NASA WorldWind Java API project (https://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov) didn’t take in any external contributions for a very long time (if ever) but did see reasonably high adoption until Java desktop apps were largely replaced by webapps.  You can do cathedral development and release via a GOSS license (NOSA) and still provide significant value to the user community.

With an OSS license release I can “clone and own” moving forward and accept upstream changes as desired even if the upstream developer never takes any of our pull requests.  We leverage Core Flight Executive (cFE) from NASA Goddard in that manner.  Goddard uses cFE for their cFS flight system where we use cFE as the foundation of our own flight software system.

UCL (upstream compatibility license) was recently approved by the OSI. The original body of work is licensed UCL while all new derivative works must be licensed Apache.  It doesn’t force the downstream to provide the upstream developer with fixes and changes but if it’s put into an external repo the original upstream developer has rights to use the new work because of Apache.  The intent was if an entity (like say a federal agency) released a large completed project as open source that it could never get locked out of downstream modifications made by the OSS community.  The core code is always UCL and the new derivative changes are always Apache.

If we used GPL, all the downstream modifications would be GPL.  If we pulled that back into the original project then it becomes potentially problematic for commercial performers to integrate in their proprietary code.

If we used Apache then the downstream modifications are not certain to be FOSS.

So downstream derivative modifications are virally permissive…I hope anyway as that was the intent.



From: License-discuss <license-discuss-bounces at opensource.org> on behalf of Tom Bereknyei <tom at dds.mil>
Reply-To: License Discuss <license-discuss at opensource.org>
Date: Friday, September 1, 2017 at 9:47 AM
To: License Discuss <license-discuss at opensource.org>
Subject: Re: [License-discuss] (no subject)


Yes, only in the case of fully public domain do our approaches differ. Our view was that a project that never had a contribution from a non-federal entity would likely not reach a critical mass of adoption anyway. This isn't perfect, but the best we could come up with. I'm glad though that at least part of the problem has a clear path forward.


I'm now encountering a slightly different situation in government, is there a way to ensure modifications and fixes are made available to the originator in a limited distribution scenario? Something like a limited distribution GPL, but unlike before, there would be no non-government contribution's copyright to piggyback off of.
Maj Tom Bereknyei
Defense Digital Service
tom at dds.mil<mailto:tom at dds.mil>
(571) 225-1630<tel:%28571%29%20225-1630>
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