Presented by:

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bkuhn

from Software Freedom Conservancy

Bradley M. Kuhn is the Distinguished Technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy, on the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), and editor-in-chief of copyleft.org. As FSF's Executive Director from 2001–2005, Kuhn led FSF's GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented the Affero GPL. Kuhn was appointed President of Software Freedom Conservancy in April 2006, was Conservancy's primary volunteer from 2006–2010, and has been a full-time staffer since early 2011. Kuhn holds a summa cum laude B.S. in Computer Science from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati. Kuhn has a blog, is on pump.io and co-hosts the audcast, Free as in Freedom.

The license-importance-divide seems almost generational: the aging early adopters still obsess about licenses and younger developers consider licenses more impediments than tools. Yet, the historical focus on licensing in Open Source and Free Software, while occasionally prone to pedantry to a degree only developers can love, stemmed from serious governance considerations for community interaction. Most importantly, a license choice of the project bears more heavily than any other decision on the inherent power dynamics that occur within a FLOSS community.

The licensing infrastructure today also has increased in complexity. Examples of such complexity include: proprietary relicensing business models (which are ostensibly copyleft but push users to buy proprietary licenses), excessive use of CLAs, and tricky clauses on top of existing licenses. The average new contributor rarely has the background knowledge readily available to analyze the community impact on these complex systems.

This talk explores both the historical motivations and modern reactions to licensing matters, and digs deep into understanding how the plethora of policy decisions around licensing, including not just the main license choice, but also CLAs, CAAs, promise documents, and even license bullying tactics, have impacted Open Source and Free Software communities for both good and ill. Attendees can hope to learn some skills for making assessments of licensing regimes in new projects, and the talk serves as a crash-course in quick assessment skills for Open Source community health through the metric of licensing policy.

Date:
2018 April 28 - 07:15
Duration:
45 min
Room:
G-103
Conference:
LinuxFest Northwest 2018
Language:
Track:
Humans
Difficulty:
Easy

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  13. Why C? Refuting C++ Pretentiousness
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  17. Do Licenses Drive Communities or Do Communities Drive Licenses?
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  23. Linux Professional Institute: LPIC-1 Cram Session
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