[Xapian-devel] Xapian license change

Dan Colish dcolish at gmail.com
Thu May 17 17:29:25 BST 2012

On Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 8:47 AM, Wichert Akkerman wrote:
> On 05/17/2012 05:16 PM, Dan Colish wrote:
> > The more I read on this thread the more I am confused. I'm starting to wonder who's asking for relicensing here because its starting to read like we, the Xapian developers, are asking how to relicense and what work we'd need to do. That is not the case. A request like this comes up once or twice a year and the requestor usually disappears a week later.
> Unfortunately not totally unexpected.
> > You need to be a part of the community to have this discussion. I'm sure anyone can appreciate what it is like for an outsider to tell you how to do things. So please, join the community, get to know its members, and write patches or create documentation. Help us improve Xapian for a bit, then we can talk about why the licensing needs to change and how to go about it. Remember, our time is an extremely precious resource and I would like to use that time to make Xapian better rather than rewriting code so it can be relicensed.
> I do not think I am telling anyone how to do things, and that certainly 
> is not my intention. So far I have only been asking for information 
> about the status quo and which might need to be done for relicensing to 
> happen, and Olly has been extremely helpful with providing that. I did 
> already offer to do work myself in this area if I can help, as much as 
> my time and skillset will allow. I have no expectation at all that other 
> people will do anything just because I or someone else is asking them to.
Fair enough, maybe it was just my interpretation of the thread. Olly has be excellent at keeping track of the licensing issue since it does come up every so often.
> I would also ask that you consider my point of view. With the current 
> license unfortunately Xapian is not useful for me, so please do not 
> expect me to invest energy into Xapian when that is not helping to 
> scratch an itch I have. I am willing to work on Xapian, within and with 
> the community as long at it helps me as well. That does include writing 
> patches, updating documentation and everything else that might be needed.

This is a pretty good point. I had not thought about it much from the other side. I think I am inclined to use Olly's guideline that the rewritten code should be an improvement. That way we are able to gain more control our licensing and improving our code. It makes sense that just gaining more control is a worthwhile effort, but I would like to see the code improve if we're already making the effort to rewrite it. 

I should say that I'm not against relicensing. I just want it to be done for the right reasons and with a clear process. How would you feel about spearheading the organization of this effort? There are some good notes on this thread from Olly that could be rounded up into a working document. 

-- Dan

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