[Bf-committers] A practical proposal for the task of re-licensing Blender
blenderwell at gmail.com
Wed Nov 24 01:26:13 CET 2010
A common statement I've heard people make when talking about the
possibility of a license change is: "Its a good idea, but in practical
terms it is almost impossible".
I do not think that is true. Here is my proposal for how it could be done:
1. Wait until Blender gets out of beta. A good first step.
2. Clarify the objective to re-license the code.
There are several different proposals for re-licensing Blender. Before
proceeding it would be necessary to pick one of them and make a
clearly stated goal.
For example: "Our goal is to re-license the entire Blender code base
from GPL to LGPL for the purpose of keeping the code free and
protected, while at the same time allowing developers to write
extensions which link to Blender to use whatever license they wish for
their own code."
3. After having clearly defined "the goal" it would be necessary to
organize a census among the Blender developer community to determine
if the majority support this idea.
4. If we reach a state where the majority (at least 60-70%) of the
Blender developer community support this idea, then the idea should
move forward. But wait! Would it be possible to move forward if there
was less than 100% support? Yes.
Next the Blender Foundation would need to make an announcement:
"This is a notice to all past and present Blender developers:
We are planning to change the license under which Blender is
distributed from GPL to LGPL, this is for the purpose of keeping
Blender free and protected, while at the same time allowing other
developers to write extensions which link to Blender to use whatever
license they wish for their own code.
Important: If we have applied patches to the code from you, and you
are opposed to this idea then please let us know and we will back out
At this point people should wait for at least a month or two to give
any developers who are opposed to the idea adequate time to go through
the source and notify the Blender foundation of any sections which
they claim they are the authors of and would like to have removed from
Blender if the license is changed.
Now depending upon how that goes will determine how the license change
Possibility #1: No developers contact the Blender Foundation and ask
for their code to be removed. In this case, license Blender as LGPL
and the job is done.
Possibility #2: The Blender Foundation is notified by some developers
that a few small trivial parts of Blender which they have written
would need to be removed.
In this case a separate branch could be created which does not contain
their code, once the code has been reimplemented then it could be
merged with trunk. Then license Blender as LGPL and the job is done.
Possibility #3: The Blender Foundation is notified by some developers
that one or more major sections of Blender which they have written
will need to be removed.
In this case it might be possible that their code could be completely
removed from Blender and re-built as an extension.
For example, lets just say that the compositor was made by a single
developer and that this developer does not want his code to be
relicensed as LGPL.
Since we do not wish to lose the compositor, and it would be
impractical to re-implement it, then the only option would be to
rebuild the compositor as an extension. In this way the compositor
extension would remain GPL in accordance with the authors wishes, and
the rest of Blender could still be relicensed as LGPL.
Once the code in contention has been reimplemented or modified to
function as an extension then merge the branches, license Blender as
LGPL, and the job is done.
So that is my proposal. Sorry if it is a bit long winded.
It is probably full of many holes which I am blissfully unaware of,
but hopefully this can help roll the ball a little further.
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