GeoServer : DRAFT - Contributor Agreement FAQ
This page last changed on Jun 07, 2012 by bmmpxf.
Yes, written in to the contributor agreement is a promise that GeoServer will always be available under an open source license.
There are several advantages to having one organization hold copyright, as detailed above, including better legal protection, minimizing confusion, and a potential source of revenue. The impetus for pursuing this now is that we have been hearing from more and more people that they really want to use GeoServer and contribute back to it, but are hampered by the license. Having contributor agreements on file gives us the flexibility to change the license without having to explicitly get an agreement every single time the community desires to make a change.
OpenPlans is a 501(c)3 non-profit that started GeoServer and has contributed to it substantially, always working to grow the community as much as possible. The headers of GeoServer are currently copyright to OpenPlans, so committers are already implicitly giving OpenPlans copyright. This step is to make it explicit, making the legal case to protect GeoServer more secure.
The recently formed Project Steering Committee (PSC) of GeoServer is made up of individuals who have contributed substantially to the success of GeoServer. The contributor agreement specifies that any decisions about the terms OpenPlans may issue the license under are subject to the approval of the PSC.
Yes, membership to the PSC is open to all. It is a merit based selection process, based on contributions to the GeoServer Project (which includes far more than just the code) detailed in (link to selection process/criteria). We believe in rewarding those who contribute to GeoServer success with a place in the committee that decides the future of GeoServer.
Yes. The specifics of this are still being worked out by the community, but one of the goals of allowing alternate licenses was to enable us to issue GeoServer under a non-GPL license.
We've had potential users come to us with three major use cases for those wanting a non-GPL license.
The details of this are still being worked out, but a majority of every license fee will be re-invested back in to GeoServer. OpenPlans, who 'owns' the code is a non-profit and thus is unable to put profits in to the hands of investors, they must be re-invested. In many cases all money will go back in to GeoServer. This may be in the form of more features, bug fixes, documentation, sponsoring of sprints, or raising awareness of GeoServer to further grow the community.
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