Software Freedom Conservancy

May 29, 2012

Conservancy Projects Launch Coordinated Free Software Compliance Efforts

Multiple Conservancy Projects Join Together to Uphold Free Software Licenses

Software Freedom Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit that provides a home and a broad range of services to Free Software projects, announced today a unified effort among many of its member projects to ensure compliance with their Free Software licenses. The effort brings together copyright holders, developers, and users of a variety of Conservancy's projects — old and new — to ensure that the rights embodied in Free Software licenses are fully upheld for all developers, users, and the general public.

Conservancy is well-known for its ongoing license compliance efforts on behalf of its BusyBox member project. Today, more Conservancy projects and initiatives join BusyBox in its desire to ensure compliance with Free Software licenses. Firstly, Conservancy's Samba member project announces today its intention to engage in compliance efforts with Conservancy.

Samba has been ensuring compliance with Samba's license, the GPL, since the 1990s. Historically, that work has been led by Samba Team member, Simo Sorce, who does a fantastic job, said Jeremy Allison, co-creator of Samba and Conservancy Director. Samba is delighted to help Simo by appointing Conservancy officially in charge of these efforts, and to gain the benefit of Conservancy's wealth of knowledge and expertise in achieving license compliance in a friendly and collaborative way.

Secondly, joining Samba and BusyBox in these efforts is a new Conservancy project called the GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers. This new project is comprised of copyright holders in the Linux kernel who have contributed to Linux under its license, the GPLv2. These seven copyright holders have formally asked Conservancy to engage in compliance efforts for their copyrights in the Linux kernel.

Matthew Garrett, an accomplished Linux kernel developer, was the first to put forward his copyrights as part of the GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers, and was quickly joined by six other individuals. In a statement today, Matthew noted: For some time, many Linux kernel copyright holders have offered our moral support to the BusyBox enforcement efforts through Conservancy, but didn't have the ability to formalize that support. I'm glad to put my copyrights forward for this new initiative, and welcome any Linux kernel copyright holders who wish to join us to reach out to Conservancy via <compliance@sfconservancy.org>.

Conservancy's new effort will be run in a collaborative manner with the project developers. All copyright holders involved will have the opportunity to give input and guidance on Conservancy's strategy in dealing with compliance issues. Thus, all Conservancy's compliance matters will have full support of relevant copyright holders.

Conservancy is dedicated to encouraging all users of software to comply with Free Software licenses. Toward this goal, in its compliance efforts, Conservancy helps distributors of Free Software in a friendly spirit of cooperation and participation. Conservancy's Free Software compliance work always centers around assisting companies to become productive and cooperative participants in Free Software development, said Bradley M. Kuhn, Executive Director of Conservancy. Kuhn added: I'm excited that so many projects have joined BusyBox to show their commitment to compliance efforts. I look forward to working with this large team to improve compliance with Free Software licenses throughout the software industry.

In addition to the new GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers, Samba, and BusyBox, many other Conservancy projects communicated their solidarity in encouraging and seeking compliance. Conservancy's Evergreen, Inkscape, Mercurial, Sugar Labs, and Wine projects have all requested Conservancy to handle any compliance issues for their projects should they occur. Conservancy remains committed to providing this service, and a myriad of other services for its growing list of member projects.

About Software Freedom Conservancy

Software Freedom Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization that promotes, improves, develops and defends Free, Libre and Open Source software projects. Conservancy is home to 27 software projects, each supported by a dedicated community of volunteers, developers and users. Conservancy's projects include some of the most widely used software systems in the world across many application areas, including educational software deployed in schools around the globe, embedded software systems deployed in most consumer electronic devices, distributed version control developer tools, integrated library services systems, and widely used graphics and art programs. A full list of Conservancy's member projects is available. Conservancy provides these projects with the necessary infrastructure and not-for-profit support services to enable each project's communities to focus on what they do best: creating innovative software and advancing computing for the public's benefit.

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