LLVM Still Proceeding With Their Code Relicensing

Written by Michael Larabel in LLVM on 17 October 2018 at 12:00 AM EDT. 13 Comments
It's been three years since the original draft proposal for relicensing the LLVM compiler code was sent out and while there hasn't been a lot to report on recently about the effort, they are making progress and proceeding.

Since 2015 LLVM developers have been discussing relicensing to an Apache 2.0 license to help motivate new contributors, protect users of LLVM code, better protect existing contributors, ensure that LLVM run-time libraries can be used by both other open-source and proprietary compilers.

Their new proposed license is effectively Apache 2.0 but with an LLVM Exception -- that exception is just dealing with your own code being compiled by LLVM as well as when pairing LLVM code with the GPLv2 license the user can opt for the indemnity provision. Currently LLVM is published under the University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source License, which is based on the MIT/X11 and 3-clause BSD license.

It's been a long road but they are still confident in this relicensing effort. They are now looking for existing LLVM contributors to fill out their consent form for moving ahead with relicensing of individual code contributions.

Longtime LLVM developer Chandler Carruth has provided the 2018 status update on this effort and calling for contributors and organizations to fill out their re-licensing form. Additional information on the re-licensing plan can be found at LLVM.org.

Some within the BSD space are continuing to voice opposition against the Apache 2.0 license. "Please do not agree to relicense LLVM under the Apache 2 license. It will make LLVM less useful, prevent other open source projects from using it, and encourage the proliferation of software patents on LLVM technologies. If LLVM is relicensed, projects like OpenBSD will no longer be able to include upstream changes, because the patent termination clause restricts users’ rights. Even if you do not use OpenBSD, you almost certainly use OpenSSH, OpenBSD’s SSH implementation."
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