On Dec 20, 2003, at 11:36 AM, Santiago Gala wrote:

El sábado, 20 dici, 2003, a las 14:00 Europe/Madrid, Geir Magnusson Jr. escribió:

On Dec 19, 2003, at 2:27 PM, Ted Husted wrote:


A very subtle concept is that the ASF doesn't actually "own" the codebase. The codebase belongs to its community, and under the Apache License, that community can always "vote with its feet". Since it is the community that gives the software its value (by using and maintaining it), there is an Apache belief that the community is the true owner of the codebase. The ASF just owns the brand and yesterday's copyright.

I believe that this isn't right - the ASF does own the codebase via the copyright, and the codebase is licensed at no cost to any entity that is willing to agree to the terms of the license. That entity, community or otherwise, cannot remove that license or change it unilaterally.

I think the point Ted makes, summarized as: "The ASF just owns the brand and yesterday's copyright." is, actually, subtle:

Because of the Apache License, anybody wishing so can carry the code and keep the development outside of the ASF, with their own rules and licenses. This has only the "brand and attribution" restriction, as per our license.

Well, it's not terribly deep, IMO. They can fork and carry the code, but the code that is created has their own rules and license. The ASF code still has the ASF license and thus the rules in that license.

I agree that the beauty of OSS is that anyone can continue w/ a project in their own way as they choose, but I just don't think it's that deep or subtle. That freedom is one of the reasons we all are here.

So, even if nominally, as you say, the code is the ASF property, anybody can re-license under different terms, provided that the ASF license conditions, "the brand", essentially, are met.

Not at all. You can't relicense the code. The Apache Software License remains w/ the code. *new* code can have different terms, but not ASF-licensed code.

In the hypothetical event that the ASF would "close" our License (which, BTW, would be against the ASF charter), the commmunity could just stop contributing the same day (hence the "yesterday's copyright"), and keep the development elsewhere, with just a notice, a copy of the Apache License and a disclaimer (hence the "brand").

They can't close the license retroactively - that's one of the great things about the license. There is no risk that in the future, the code you have now will become unavailable due to some kind of license change.

*Future versions* released under a *different license* may be, but that is totally different. Using a version now doesn't require to use a version in the future.

This implies that those having easier ability or will to maintain the product are the effective owners of it. as in a rapidly changing environment, software rot takes care of static code bases.

However, you have to recognize that sometimes software is done. Look at ORO and Regexp. Do we use them because they are rapidly innovating, or because they do what they say they are going to do, and do it well?


Geir Magnusson Jr                                   203-247-1713(m)

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