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

Joerg Sonnenberger via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Oct 21 05:16:14 PDT 2015

On Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 09:54:30PM -0700, Chris Lattner wrote:
> On Oct 19, 2015, at 10:53 AM, Joerg Sonnenberger <joerg at britannica.bec.de> wrote:
> >>>> 2) We could require new contributors to sign the Apache CLA.
> >>> 
> >>> To me, this is the most acceptable option of the listed terms.
> >> 
> >> Please explain: why?
> > 
> > First part for me is that switching the code to a different license
> > doesn't address some of the legal concerns regarding "tainted" code.
> I’m not sure what you mean by that.

Clearly :)

> Because LLVM uses a distributed approach to copyright (i.e., all
> contributors, or their employer, own the copyright for their work),
> you must contact each of them to relicense the code under a new license.
> As part of this contact, you get them to agree to relicense under the
> new license.  If they don’t, you aren’t allowed to retain the code.
> This seems clean to me, even if it is a huge amount of work, and even
> if it means that you may not get to keep 100% of the code in the tree.

I am not talking about the process for relicensing code. Let's assume
that part happened. The point I am trying to make is that this doesn't
solve any of the reasons why a CLA is normally introduced and I do
believe many of those are used as justification for such a license
change in first place:

(1) Clear responsibility for authorship of committed changes.
(2) Explicit contract for patent licenses.

Luckily, I don't have any legal department for pushing any corporate
agenda here, but I am a bit surprised that especially the second part is
considered a non-issue?


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