Conservancy's Coordinated Compliance Efforts
byon May 29, 2012
Conservancy announced today its new coordinated Free Software license compliance effort. As you might guess, in between getting things together for Conservancy conferences, making sure developers get reimbursed on time, and all the other primary work of Conservancy that I'm up to each day, I've been spending what hours that I can coordinating this new effort.
This new program is an outgrowth of the debate that happened over the last few months regarding Conservancy's GPL compliance efforts. Specifically, I noticed that, buried in the FUD over the last four months regarding GPL compliance, there was one key criticism that was valid and couldn't be ignored: Linux copyright holders should be involved in compliance actions on embedded systems. Linux is a central component of such work, and the BusyBox developers agreed wholeheartedly that having some Linux developers involved with compliance would be very helpful. Conservancy has addressed this issue by building a broad coalition of copyright holders in many different projects who seek to work on compliance with Conservancy, including not just Linux and BusyBox, but other projects as well.
I'm looking forward to working collaboratively with copyright holders of many different projects to uphold the rights guaranteed by GPL. I'm also elated at the broad showing of support by other Conservancy projects. In addition to the primary group in the announcement (i.e., copyright holders in BusyBox, Samba and Linux), a total of seven other GPL'd and/or LGPL'd projects have chosen Conservancy to handle compliance efforts. It's clear that Conservancy's compliance efforts are widely supported by many projects.
The funniest part about all this, though, is that while there has been
no end of discussion of Conservancy's and other's compliance efforts
this year, most Free Software users never actually have to deal with
the details of compliance. Requirements of most copyleft licenses like
GPL generally trigger on distribution of the software —
particularly distribution of binaries. Since most users simply receive
distribution of binaries, and run them locally on their own computer,
rarely do they face complex issues of compliance. As the GPLv2
The act of running the Program is not restricted.
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