Jeff Balogh | 14 Jan 21:16 2010

Licensing of Mozilla website code

Greetings all,

Over in webdev, we've been having some unproductive arguments over how
our website code should be licensed.  I'm hoping this list will be
able to enlighten us.

The repo in question is http://github.com/jbalogh/zamboni/, the new
version of addons.mozilla.org.  Bug 539671 asks that we add a license
to that repository.

I'd like to license our web code under a simple, permissive license
like the BSD.  I find clause 3.5 of the MPL, which requires a
duplicate of the license text in every source file, onerous and
fatiguing in our repositories.  We create a lot of small files with
code or templated HTML, and often the 40 lines of boilerplate license
outweighs the lines of code.  Even with large files, the first thing I
invariably see when opening a file is a full screen of license.  I can
try to hide it with my text editor, but I look at our code in more
than just a text editor.  Sometimes I work with it on the command
line, often I look at it through a web interface, and hiding the
license for myself doesn't help all the other people who look at our
code.

It feels slightly trivial to complain about 40 lines so much, but I
think the developer ergonomics of confronting the license at every
turn are poor.

In addition, the community we're working with uses and shares
primarily BSD-licensed packages.  I'm not sure if there are any
restrictions to importing MPL code into a mostly-BSD codebase, but I'd
(Continue reading)

Benjamin Smedberg | 14 Jan 21:53 2010
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Re: Licensing of Mozilla website code

On 1/14/10 3:16 PM, Jeff Balogh wrote:

> I'd like to license our web code under a simple, permissive license
> like the BSD.

I don't have any authority in the matter, but I approve! I think all of our 
non-product code should be BSD-licensed unless there is a strong reason not to.

--BDS
timeless | 14 Jan 22:22 2010
Picon

Re: Licensing of Mozilla website code

Jeff wrote:
> I'm not sure if there are any
> restrictions to importing MPL code into a mostly-BSD codebase, but I'd
> like to make our interactions with them as smooth as possible.  Advice
> on this point would be appreciated.

in general i don't think there are any real problems with doing so,
other than that a file or its contents will carry MPL and whatever
lifespan requirements for delivery of code and attribution from MPL
will apply for those files.

> I'm not completely clear why our Mozilla product code is under the
> tri-license, but I have a feeling that it's not as relevant in our
> webdev environment.

I'm not sure if you want an answer or not. There are probably books on
it :). In short MPL was to keep the product alive, enable it to be
integrated into other places and get changes made by companies to be
contributed to the public (this includes a change made by e.g.
Netscape or Nokia to a Mozilla file that's under MPL), but without
preventing them from adding extras (AOL IM support) through a
restrictive license.

The LGPL/GPL story was roughly because a certain group of people
claimed that MPL wasn't compatible and therefore insisted that we
change somehow (I'm pretty sure they'd have preferred for us to
replace MPL with LGPL or GPL, but this didn't sit well with the
Mozilla community [I count myself amongst that group, and I'm sure it
included certain corporations at that time]), the dual licensing and
later tri licensing was a compromise to enable groups using GPL and
(Continue reading)

Gervase Markham | 15 Jan 16:39 2010
Picon

Re: Licensing of Mozilla website code

On 14/01/10 20:16, Jeff Balogh wrote:
> Over in webdev, we've been having some unproductive arguments over how
> our website code should be licensed.  I'm hoping this list will be
> able to enlighten us.

Thanks for dropping in. You are in the right place :-)

> I'd like to license our web code under a simple, permissive license
> like the BSD.  I find clause 3.5 of the MPL, which requires a
> duplicate of the license text in every source file, onerous and
> fatiguing in our repositories.  

I agree entirely. If the MPL is ever revised, this will be one of the
first things to be fixed.

> In addition, the community we're working with uses and shares
> primarily BSD-licensed packages.  I'm not sure if there are any
> restrictions to importing MPL code into a mostly-BSD codebase, but I'd
> like to make our interactions with them as smooth as possible.  Advice
> on this point would be appreciated.

Here's the advice: you cannot import MPLed code into a BSD-licensed
codebase if you want the result to be BSD-licensed. And I suspect that
third party libraries would not appreciate the additional licensing
complexity of having some of their code MPL and the rest BSD. However,
if you know who the copyright owners are and have their permission, then
of course you can copy it over. And I'd expect changes made directly to
those packages to be made BSD to start with (and our licence policy is
cool with that - point 4).
http://www.mozilla.org/MPL/license-policy.html
(Continue reading)

Jeff Balogh | 15 Jan 20:07 2010

Re: Licensing of Mozilla website code

On Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 7:39 AM, Gervase Markham <gerv <at> mozilla.org> wrote:
> On 14/01/10 20:16, Jeff Balogh wrote:
>> In addition, the community we're working with uses and shares
>> primarily BSD-licensed packages.  I'm not sure if there are any
>> restrictions to importing MPL code into a mostly-BSD codebase, but I'd
>> like to make our interactions with them as smooth as possible.  Advice
>> on this point would be appreciated.
>
> Here's the advice: you cannot import MPLed code into a BSD-licensed
> codebase if you want the result to be BSD-licensed. And I suspect that
> third party libraries would not appreciate the additional licensing
> complexity of having some of their code MPL and the rest BSD. [...]

From this, and the talk of using the community-standard Perl licensing
below, I think we're in agreement that small components extracted from
our site should be licensed so that they play well with the larger
community.  In this case, the Python community prefers BSD, so making
our libs BSD would be the best choice.

>> I'm not completely clear why our Mozilla product code is under the
>> tri-license,
>
> Because we started with the MPL, and then wished to add GPL
> compatibility without losing copyleft (which we would have done if we'd
> switched to BSD to achieve that goal).
>
> I myself think that having a copyleft licence is an important community
> norms statement, even if it's possible to dodge the copyleft. Mozilla
> expects you to share your changes - and if you don't, using some
> licensing wrinkle to get out of it, we don't appreciate it.
(Continue reading)

Axel Hecht | 15 Jan 22:06 2010

Re: Licensing of Mozilla website code

Jumping in here with my own 2cts, developing some django-based website 
ourselves.

With django, a well-designed site should be composed of a bunch of 
modules (called apps in django jargon). Filled with optimism, those 
should serve generic purposes, or at least be adaptable to a different 
use case on a different site. The code-interchange is largely based on 
the "new bsd license"

So, folks could use amo applications together with their own project and 
some other apps and tweaks and create a spin-off for gecko extensions or 
some other extension mechanism.

I recall talking to Mitchell at one point of BSD vs MPL for real code, 
and her key-argument was patent-protection that the MPL had on top. Not 
sure how essential that is in this context.

As a side tangent, is there any relation between the licensing of code 
that's running a website and the resulting website? In our case, we'd 
aggregate data from bugzilla, hg.m.o, self-hosted database content, and 
templates under the code license to create ... ? No idea.

On 15.01.10 16:39, Gervase Markham wrote:
> On 14/01/10 20:16, Jeff Balogh wrote:
>> Over in webdev, we've been having some unproductive arguments over how
>> our website code should be licensed.  I'm hoping this list will be
>> able to enlighten us.
>
> Thanks for dropping in. You are in the right place :-)
>
(Continue reading)

John J Barton | 15 Jan 23:07 2010

Re: Licensing of Mozilla website code

Jeff Balogh wrote:
...
>> Please don't confuse "copyleft" with "non-commercial" or
>> "non-corporate". No open source licence has any restriction on using the
>> code "in a corporate setting".
> 
> I haven't experienced it firsthand, but from what I hear on the
> internet, many corporate environments avoid copyleft because they fear
> the viral license.  The license itself doesn't preclude commercial
> usage, but the untested implications are enough to rule out copyleft
> code.

Use of GPL or LGPL is not such a big issue in corporations I am familiar 
with (IBM and HP). Redistribution is completely another matter. 
Developers, because they may someday work on product code, generally 
avoid messing with GPL source.  I am able to work on Firebug because it 
is BSD; I'm not sure I have enough patience to talk with lawyers about 
MPL; I'm sure I don't for GPL.

jjb
Axel Hecht | 30 Jan 11:06 2010

Re: Licensing of Mozilla website code

Filed https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=543181 on our code.

Axel

On 15.01.10 22:06, Axel Hecht wrote:
> Jumping in here with my own 2cts, developing some django-based website
> ourselves.
>
> With django, a well-designed site should be composed of a bunch of
> modules (called apps in django jargon). Filled with optimism, those
> should serve generic purposes, or at least be adaptable to a different
> use case on a different site. The code-interchange is largely based on
> the "new bsd license"
>
> So, folks could use amo applications together with their own project and
> some other apps and tweaks and create a spin-off for gecko extensions or
> some other extension mechanism.
>
> I recall talking to Mitchell at one point of BSD vs MPL for real code,
> and her key-argument was patent-protection that the MPL had on top. Not
> sure how essential that is in this context.
>
> As a side tangent, is there any relation between the licensing of code
> that's running a website and the resulting website? In our case, we'd
> aggregate data from bugzilla, hg.m.o, self-hosted database content, and
> templates under the code license to create ... ? No idea.
>
> On 15.01.10 16:39, Gervase Markham wrote:
>> On 14/01/10 20:16, Jeff Balogh wrote:
>>> Over in webdev, we've been having some unproductive arguments over how
(Continue reading)


Gmane