License Update and Migration Processes in Open Source Software Projects

TitleLicense Update and Migration Processes in Open Source Software Projects
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsJensen, C, Scacchi, W
Secondary TitleOpen Source Systems: Grounding Research (OSS 2011)
Date Published10/2011
Keywordsapache, case study, email, email archive, license evolution, mailing list, netbeans, open source, process

Open source software (OSS) has increasingly been the subject of research efforts. Central to this focus is the nature under which the software can be distributed, used, and modified and the causes and consequent effects on software development, usage, and distribution. At present, we have little understanding of, what happens when these licenses change, what motivates such changes, and how new licenses are created, updated, and deployed. Similarly, little attention has been paid to the agreements under which contributions are made to OSS projects and the impacts of changes to these agreements. We might also ask these same questions regarding the licenses governing how individuals and groups contribute to OSS projects. This paper focuses on addressing these questions with case studies of processes by which the Apache Software Foundation's creation and migration to Version 2.0 of the Apache Software License and the NetBeans project's migration to the Joint Licensing Agreement.


"The case studies in this report are part of an ongoing, multi-year research project discovering and modeling open source software processes. Our research methodology is ethnographically informed, applying a grounded theory to the analysis of artifacts found in OSS projects. The primary data sources in this study come from mailing list archives of the Apache and NetBeans projects."

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