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

Daniel Berlin via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Oct 21 07:52:45 PDT 2015

On Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 5:16 AM, Joerg Sonnenberger via llvm-dev
<llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
> 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

So let me stop you right here.
Because this statement is just flat out wrong.
Let's go through your issues:

> 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.

Again, as stated before, both of these issues are covered by the apache license.

It has a built-in CLA that explicitly grants both copyright and patent
rights from contributors when they make contributions to the work.

> Luckily, I don't have any legal department for pushing any corporate
> agenda here,

I'm not sure what you are suggesting here, ...

> but I am a bit surprised that especially the second part is
> considered a non-issue?

I'm also not sure why you think it's considered a non-issue.
Instead, what you are getting told is "both of your concerns are
already covered by the relicensing option".
Because they are :)

More information about the llvm-dev mailing list