[Ofa_boardplus] OFA and Open Source

Coulter, Susan K skc at lanl.gov
Thu Mar 15 12:07:25 PDT 2018

In my opinion, the dual license issue is dead and has been for a while.
What I mean by that is - the ship has sailed - regardless of how or why.

It is my understanding from a recent side conversation that dual license was never really expected to hold.
Dual license was agreed to early on to help the OFA members who needed and relied on it.
It was more or less a given (amongst some) that as the code base matured and disseminated, it would be nearly impossible to retain.

When Jason and company moved the code base from OFA to github, he immediately reviewed the state of the licenses.
There were ~7 different licenses and we already had non-dual-license code in the repo.

So …
It is a fact that dual license was broken before the repo was moved.
The word “control” is pretty strong; we probably should use “steward”.
The OFA was, in fact, the steward of the code in the beginning and as it gained acceptance.
Whether or not the OFA actually failed as a “steward” is not a question I can answer, but I am open to the fact that we may have been remiss.
There are other OFA programs and processes that have atrophied and/or we were remiss in staying actively on top of.
It is >possible< we missed a step somewhere.

I’m not saying these things to flog ourselves, but to honestly look at our path.
As my husband and I like to ask at critical junctures:  “Where are we, how did we get here, and where are we going?"

On Mar 15, 2018, at 12:50 PM, Paul Grun <grun at cray.com<mailto:grun at cray.com>> wrote:

I want to find closure on one open source/dual license item discussed today.

It seems that there is broad agreement in the value of open source.  There is also some demand to continue to maintain dual licensing.

  *   In the early days, OFA code (called OFS) was maintained in an OFA repo created per the bylaws.
     *   Hence the OFA could enforce the dual license provisions because the OFA controlled the maintainer of that repo.

  *   But since OFS was open source, anybody could fork the repo and effectively deprecate the OFA repo, which is what happened.
     *   Once the open source community made the choice to fork the code and assign maintainers, the OFA could no longer rigorously enforce dual license provisions, except by a gentleman’s / gentlewoman’s agreement.

  *   The OFA could not have prevented that from happening.
     *   There are reasons why the community chose to do so (e.g. dissatisfaction with an absentee maintainer or other reasons) that perhaps the OFA could address
     *   But at the end of the day, there is no legal agreement that would prevent that from happening if someone were motivated to do so.

  *   Hence, in my view, the notion of losing control is illusory, since no such control exists, because OFS was open source.

Please educate me if this isn’t accurate.


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Susan Coulter
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