Update on Software Freedom Law Center work

Alexandre Julliard julliard at winehq.org
Fri Mar 31 15:27:51 CST 2006


As announced at the last Wineconf, Jeremy and myself have been working
for a few months now with the Software Freedom Law Center on a number
of legal issues concerning Wine. We've been mostly quiet about it, so
I thought I'd post a status update. There are two major tasks going on
at the moment:

1. Code audit

We are doing an audit of the code base, to make sure we have proper
records of all contributions, and spot any potentially troublesome
code. The goal is to be able to show to people who don't want to dig
through the source that we have done our development properly, and
that they can use Wine without fear of legal trouble.

Currently, a survey is being sent out to people we have identified as
major contributors, so that we can collect some information from them,
like employers, license agreements, that sort of thing. This will
enable us to build a complete track record for all contributions.

We are still processing the results, at this point the responses we
received cover approximately half of the code base (many thanks to
everybody who took the time to answer!). We'll be sending the survey
to more contributors in the near future to try to get as close to 100%
coverage as we can.

2. Non-profit organization

There are many advantages to having a non-profit organization for a
project, for instance to allow tax-exempt donations, or hold assets
like trademarks. However it's a lot of paperwork to do, so we never
went to the trouble of setting one up.

Now the SFLC is starting an organization called the Software Freedom
Conservancy, that will be officially launched on Monday. It's
basically an umbrella non-profit that provides services to free
software projects. By joining that organization, we will get all the
advantages of having our own non-profit, without having to do any of
the work, so that seems like a good deal...

There will also be the possibility of assigning our copyrights to that
organization, which would make it easier to enforce the license, and
provide some liability protection for developers. However this will
only be done if most developers are comfortable with it, so I'd be
interested to hear your feedback on this issue.

Alexandre Julliard
julliard at winehq.org

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