Monday, 27 March 2017 09:16

OpenSSL licence change move riles some contributors

By

The OpenSSL project is seeking to go ahead with a change of licence to the Apache Licence Version 2.0 but the way it is doing so appears to have riled up some contributors.

The change of licence was first suggested in 2015, a year after the Heartbleed vulnerability made people aware of the extent of use of OpenSSL.

The original OpenSSL licence is described by the project itself, as "rather unique and idiosyncratic".

At the time of Heartbleed, it became known that just four developers made up the core OpenSSL team.

After that, a number of companies made a contribution of US$3.9 million to the Linux Foundation, some part of which was used for developing OpenSSL.

The main reason for changing the licence is to avoid patent issues.

But when the project sent out emails recently to as many contributors as it could, it also made it a condition that if they did not write back, then it would be taken for granted that they did not object to the change.

The email said, in part: "We are asking for your permission to change the licence for your contribution. Please visit this link to respond; you will have a chance to accept or decline, and enter a brief comment (you can use the comment to give the names of other people we should contact, for example).

"If we do not hear from you, we will assume that you have no objection."

There are nearly 400 individuals who have contributed code to OpenSSL with a total of more than 31,000 commits. The current licence dates back to the 1990s and is more than 20 years old.

If any contributors refuse to accept the licence change, then their contributions will have to be rewritten. There are multiple email addresses for several contributors, showing how difficult it will be for the project to ensure that everyone knows about the proposal.

But OpenSSL has never had a contributor's agreement so far, something it seeks to rectify by creating agreements both for individuals and corporate contributions.

One of those opposed to the licence change is Theo de Raadt, head of the OpenBSD project, who forked the OpenSSL code soon after the Heartbleed incident and created a version called LibreSSL.

De Raadt poked fun at the move to relicense OpenSSL, posting a message where he said he was planning to change the licensing of the Gnu C compiler from GPL to ISC.

In an email, de Raadt said: "Lots of people have been receiving emails like the one below (referring to the email sent to OpenSSL contributors by the project).

"They have never asked the community of authors what they want. I think OpenSSL are using a github 'garbage-in/garbage-out' style of process. Feel free to dig into what they think I am author of, and why.

"The start suggests they want to privately collect sufficient consensus to pass their agenda. They appear to be considering all actions in the tree (including mine) on equal grounds.

"The last sentence suggests they don't care at all about the rights of the authors."


Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here

GRAND OPENING OF THE ITWIRE SHOP

The much awaited iTWire Shop is now open to our readers.

Visit the iTWire Shop, a leading destination for stylish accessories, gear & gadgets, lifestyle products and everyday portable office essentials, drones, zoom lenses for smartphones, software and online training.

PLUS Big Brands include: Apple, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sennheiser and many more.

Products available for any country.

We hope you enjoy and find value in the much anticipated iTWire Shop.

ENTER THE SHOP NOW!

INTRODUCING ITWIRE TV

iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the iTWire.com site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.

SEE WHAT'S ON ITWIRE TV NOW!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Sam Varghese

Web Analytics

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments