OpenSSL Launches New Website to Organize Process, Seeks to Contact All Contributors
“This re-licensing activity will make OpenSSL, already the world’s most widely-used FOSS encryption software, more convenient to incorporate in the widest possible range of free and open source software,” said Mishi Choudhary, Legal Director of Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) and counsel to OpenSSL. “OpenSSL’s team has carefully prepared for this re-licensing, and their process will be an outstanding example of ‘how to do it right.’ SFLC is pleased to have been able to help the team bring this process to this point, and looks forward to its successful and timely completion.”
The website will aid the OpenSSL team’s efforts to contact everyone who has contributed to the project so far, which includes nearly 400 individuals with a total of more than 31,000 commits. The current license dates back to the 1990’s and is more than 20 years old. The open source community has grown and changed since then, and has mostly settled on a small number of standard licenses.
After careful review, consultation with other projects, and input from the Core Infrastructure Initiative and legal counsel from the SFLC, the OpenSSL team decided to relicense the code under the widely-used ASLv2.
“The Linux Foundation is excited to see the OpenSSL project re-licensing under the Apache License,” said Nicko van Someren, Chief Technology Officer, the Linux Foundation. “Using a standard and well-understood license is a huge benefit when incorporating a FOSS project into other projects and products. OpenSSL has made huge progress in recent years, in part through support from the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative, and this license move will further help to ensure it remains one of the most important and relied-upon open source projects in the world.”
The website contains a list of every email address mentioned in every single commit, a searchable database of authors, and the ability to send email and approve the license change. Because email addresses change, the website will also be updated over time to record email bounces and the names of people the project is still trying to reach.
“Oracle is proud to extend its collaboration with the OpenSSL Foundation by relicensing its contributions of elliptic curve cryptography,” said Jim Wright, Chief Architect of Open Source Policy, Strategy, Compliance and Alliances, Oracle. “OpenSSL is a critical component in both Oracle products and the infrastructure of the Internet, and we strongly believe the increased use of cryptography fostered by OpenSSL will benefit the entire enterprise software community.”
“Intel is thrilled to see OpenSSL moving to the standard Apache 2.0 license, improving license compatibility within the Open Source ecosystem,” said Imad Sousou, Vice President and General Manager of the Open Source Technology Center, Intel. “This will help defragment the open source cryptography ecosystem, leading to stronger and more pervasive use of crypto to improve privacy and security in the global technology infrastructure.”
Additional details on the decision to move to ASLv2 are available here. For progress updates on re-licensing, which is expected to take several months, check the website and project mailing lists.
To reach the OpenSSL team involved in this effort, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The team also asks that anyone who knows of other people who should be contacted, such as “silent collaborators” on code contributions, to also send email.