[License-discuss] Fwd: Should fork a project on github be seen as distribution of origin project?

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Wed Aug 3 00:26:46 UTC 2022

This term of the license is from the pre-github days when it wasn't always
so obvious that the program was modified, and there was concern that the
modified program would be of lesser quality than what the original author
would have written, thus defaming the original author. What I allowed for
long ago in Open Source Definition section #4, and what various licenses
ask for, may not be as important today but it's still in all of those
licenses and the OSD, and in some unusual cases probably still of some

Putting a copy on github is definitely distribution. You have to honor the

Check in the unmodified version first. Then the next revision can have your
modifications. And so on.

We could say that github implies modification. But to be sure, put a note
in the top directory, something like MODIFICATION.md, and write "In
compliance with the Apache 2.0 license: I declare that this version of the
program contains my modifications, which can be seen through the usual
"git" mechanism."


On Tue, Aug 2, 2022 at 5:08 PM なつよるほたる <touyamanaojp at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello,
> I found an interesting project protected by Apache-2.0 in github. Now I
> want to modify some functions and some new features to develop a new
> software based on the original project. Naturally I want to fork it and
> start my coding, but there is a confusing thing, should I fulfill the
> obligation of *Redistribute with  Modification, *especially the 2.nd
> term, changelog related.
>    1. You must give any other recipients of the Work or Derivative Works
>    a copy of this License; and
>    2. *You must cause any modified files to carry prominent notices
>    stating that You changed the files; and*
>    3. You must retain, in the Source form of any Derivative Works that
>    You distribute, all copyright, patent, trademark, and attribution notices
>    from the Source form of the Work, excluding those notices that do not
>    pertain to any part of the Derivative Works; and
>    4. If the Work includes a "NOTICE" text file as part of its
>    distribution, then any Derivative Works that You distribute must include a
>    readable copy of the attribution notices contained within such NOTICE file,
>    excluding those notices that do not pertain to any part of the Derivative
>    Works, in at least one of the following places: within a NOTICE text file
>    distributed as part of the Derivative Works; within the Source form or
>    documentation, if provided along with the Derivative Works; or, within a
>    display generated by the Derivative Works, if and wherever such third-party
>    notices normally appear. The contents of the NOTICE file are for
>    informational purposes only and do not modify the License. You may add Your
>    own attribution notices within Derivative Works that You distribute,
>    alongside or as an addendum to the NOTICE text from the Work, provided that
>    such additional attribution notices cannot be construed as modifying the
>    License.
> Best regards,
> Aaron
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Bruce Perens K6BP
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