[llvm-dev] RFC #3: Improving license & patent issues in the LLVM community

Pavan Maddamsetti via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Mon Apr 24 04:33:01 PDT 2017

Hello LLVM community,

I am not currently a contributor to LLVM or associated projects, so I do
not expect my opinion to carry much weight here. That said, I have noticed
a few things that I would like to point out.

Several people have made statements along the lines of “I am not a lawyer.”
Why should such a statement be necessary? The current LLVM license is
concise enough that anyone can read it and understand what it requires:
give credit where credit is due, and do not misuse the names of the authors
to sell your own products.

Now I understand that this is not really a matter of debate. People seem to
have decided that Apache 2.0 is the future and take its increased size and
complexity for granted. But that brings me to my second point. Chris, you
have mentioned that the lawyers working on this are “super smart legal

No doubt that is true. But I ask, if they are so smart, why were they not
able to take a path of less resistance: to simply add a new document about
patents? Why go to the trouble of dragging the community through a
multi-year relicensing process? Lawyers are not cheap, and this drawn out
process must have cost a pretty penny. From a project supported by

The overarching theme that I perceive is that developer resources are being
misused. People are wasting time debating legal terminology instead of
writing software. Many have expressed doubts about what the new license
requires in terms of attribution, and whether they will have to make
changes or risk being sued. And the donations of many supporters and
volunteers are being spent on high-priced lawyers.

Please reconsider whether this is the right thing to do, or if there is a
simpler, easier way that all of us can support.
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