[llvm-dev] RFC: Improving license & patent issues in the LLVM community

Joachim Durchholz via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Mon Oct 19 10:24:32 PDT 2015

Am 19.10.2015 um 17:25 schrieb Chris Lattner via llvm-dev:
> Unfortunately, adding the Apache CLA also has several disadvantages
> as well:
> - It adds new barriers for new contributors to LLVM.  We don’t
> currently have a process where you need to sign (or click through) a
> form, and adding one is a barrier in certain situations (e.g. it
> requires individuals to disclose sensitive personal information like
> mailing addresses etc, and may require extra levels of legal approval
> in corporate situations).

If you want to extend a patent license to any LLVM user, you need legal 
approval from the patent holder, and that inevitably means paperwork.

> - The CLA also provides power that I (personally) don’t think we
> “want" as a community.  For example, it would allow the LLVM
> Foundation to arbitrarily relicense the project without approval from
> the copyright holders.

That's actually a necessity. Laws change, interpretations change, and it 
may be necessary to change the license to achieve the original goals.

If you want to make clear that it is not going to be "power to the 
LLVM", you can state what kinds of license change might be done in the 

> 4) We could switch to another well-known solution.

One solution I haven't seen mentioned: Become one of the projects under 
the Apache Foundation umbrella.
Benefits are legal protection, established licensing terms, established 
organizational procedures, a pool of experience to tap for questions 
like Code of Conduct, legalese, or organisational details.
Downside is that you need to relicense everything for the Apache 2.0 
license, but if you consider going there, it may be a good idea to go 
the full distance.

> With all this said, I’d love to hear what you all think.

Speaking as a potential user of LLVM, I'd be happy with almost anything. 
Well, maybe not the GPL because that would restrict my own licensing 
options, but the GPL isn't on the table anyway, so I don't have any 
stakes in this.


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