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

C Bergström via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Mon Apr 24 08:48:53 PDT 2017

On Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 7:33 PM, Pavan Maddamsetti via llvm-dev
<llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
> Hello LLVM community,
> Several people have made statements along the lines of “I am not a lawyer.”
> Why should such a statement be necessary?

It's possibly to set the context as non-legal advice. They want to be
honest that their views are from a non-lawyer. Beyond any requirements
their employers may need it just seems very honest. I am not a lawyer

> 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?

These are extremely complicated matters and in general it's safer to
leverage existing work than to try to sticky-tape fix things. Ask
yourself - How would you word a new clause or additional wording to
deal only with patents? How would that be superior to something which
is available now and already addresses those concerns. The license
they've chosen has been reviewed by probably hundreds or thousands of
lawyers and across companies and jurisdictions. There's a ton of
people who are familiar with it, understand it and feel comfortable
with it. Please respect those people and their efforts and not
underestimate the amount of work involved here.

> 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
> volunteers.

The motivation has been covered in a previous email.

> 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.

You seem to be making assumptions and trying to distract from the
original goal. Please read the original motivation and if you have
something against those specific goals please address them
specifically. fwiw I think the lawyers are doing this pro-bono and
volunteering their time and energy side by side with the engineers.

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

My favorite canned reply - patches welcome :)

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