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<== Date ==> <== Thread ==>

Subject: Re: External source code repository
From: Andrew Johnson <anj@aps.anl.gov>
To: "Rees, NP (Nick)" <nick.rees@diamond.ac.uk>
Cc: core-talk@aps.anl.gov, Mark Rivers <rivers@cars.uchicago.edu>, Tim Mooney <mooney@aps.anl.gov>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 12:57:11 -0500
Rees, NP (Nick) wrote:

So far this is all speculative - it is just a proposal, but I wanted to
ensure I had the name reserved. What I now want to do is explore the
details. The biggest problem seems to me to be licensing. A lot of code
has been developed by people who can release under an Open Source
license (I chose GPL as the initial default license for the EPICS
project), but some can only be issued under the EPICS license.

There are EPICS sites for whom the GPL is not an acceptable license. I don't want to get into the whole Free Software debate here, I just wanted to point that out.

The problem is EPICS license is not OSI approved (and all Source forge
code must be issued under an OSI approved license), and hence anything
tainted with it may not be able to be submitted to source forge. OTOH,
the EPICS pages say that the EPICS license is designed to be OSD
compliant, but has not be submitted to OSI for approval. Reading the
licenses, my main concern is that the EPICS license makes a distinction
between copies in source and copies in binary form - which kind of
implies that binaries can be distributed without source. The OSD
explicitly forbids this.

In which case the BSD and MIT (X11) licenses are not OSD compliant either, because they don't require that source be included with binary distributions either (which they both permit).

The EPICS Open license was written by Argonne lawyers to satisfy the disclaimer requirements of the US Department of Energy, whose approval we had to get before relicensing the code. It was intended to be BSD-like in that it would not restrict what could be done with the code after release, other than to retain the license conditions and copyright notices, and it has been accepted by the Free Software Foundation as a Free Software license conforming to their requirements. IANAL so I can't give advice on its compatibility with the GPL, but personally I believe that EPICS licensed code can be included in GPL licensed programs and distrbuted under the terms of the GPL.

So, there are a number of possibilities:

1. I can propose to the community that we start using source forge for
any
   driver/application/extension that can be release under an open source
license.

Personally I have always advocated that a program's author/site should decide how and where they maintain their source code repository. We are at Argonne not allowed to create projects on SourceForge, I believe because of the agreement that Argonne would have to sign with them.

2. We can try and get the EPICS license OSI approved.

This might be hard to do now, since OSI are trying to reduce the number of Open Source licenses in use in order to remove future compatibility problems. However if you wish to try this feel free...

3. We can try and get the EPICS license changed.

Given what I wrote above, do you still think anything needs changing in the EPICS license?

The real problem with 1 is that it might stop any DOE person from
touching the code, which is not the intention. Hence, I would like to
find where we are on the true open source nature of EPICS and whether we
can try and move away from the DOE-centric position we still seem to be
in. Any suggestions, comments, ideas are welcome.

This is my position on the matter: I would like to move the existing EPICS code (and the EPICS website) onto an internet accessible server that is under our control (but not on the current APS web server machine, since there are restrictions on what can be done there and they will be getting even more strict in the future), using Subversion for the repository and Apache for the web server.

The aim would be to permit everyone read-only access to the repository, and also be able to give out commit priviledge to different individuals for different parts of the repository (or more likely with SVN to have multiple repositories with different access rules). As before I don't think we should try to force people to use the central repository, but we could provide it as an option for EPICS-related projects. Projects that use our SVN would also be allowed to provide web pages that could be integrated into the EPICS website.

I have not pushed this idea internally yet, but I don't see too many objections arising, and I think our IT group would be happy with it.

Would you see this as an acceptable solution instead of SourceForge?

- Andrew
--
There is no S in exprexxo.

References:
External source code repository Rees, NP (Nick)

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