Re: [hackers] Licensing status of patches

From: Laslo Hunhold <>
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 2020 10:45:39 +0200

On Thu, 1 Oct 2020 09:04:32 +0100
Daniel Littlewood <> wrote:

Dear Daniel,

> My argument that the GPL is simpler here is that in the "default case"
> where changes are simply submitted without the contributor talking
> about licensing, the project as a whole is not covered by the given
> license (only those contributions which have explicitly agreed to it).
> For small projects, or projects hosted on Github, this is no problem.
> But if, some time later, a user decides they want to fork the project,
> simply seeing that the project is free is not enough to guarantee they
> can use it. They need to see either something like a CLA (which may
> cede the copyright to the maintainer, or simply agree that their
> contributions inherit the parent license), or an explicit statement
> from every contributor agreeing to license their changes under a free
> license.
> So whether it's a "need" or a "simplification" is a matter of
> perspective - I only think it would matter for projects above a
> certain size. But the need to get access to downstream changes of your
> own project is one of the motivating factors behind the GPL - I
> believe Linus cites it as his motivation for choosing it for Linux.

ah I see, yes, this is a big bonus of the GPL, as it mandates that for
derivative works and modifications. Thanks for your elaboration!

With best regards

Received on Thu Oct 01 2020 - 10:45:39 CEST

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