Licensing Working Group Meeting, February 21, 2017

Present: Pere Mato, John Harvey, Liz Sexton Kennedy, Michel Jouvin, Dave Dykstra, Grigory Rybkin, Jim Pivarski, Andrea Valassi, Giacomo Tenaglia, Graeme Stewart, Andrew MacNab, and Nick Ziogas and Myriam Ayass from CERN KT


CERN/IT Licensing Status - G. Tenaglia

Current situation from the Open Source License Task Force

Giacomo is a point of contact for licensing issues at CERN. Trying to raise developer awareness.

Inventory of CERN SW in progress: probably some of the SW should be registered into the HSF SW&C knowledge base

CMS Licensing Status - L. Sexton Kennedy

Since July 2011, CMS collaborators writing SW to take, simulate, reconstruct and analyze CMS data give up ownership of that SW when they commit it to the CMSSW.

But not agreement yet on the license to use… currently blocked

BNL Licensing Status - B. Viren

Initially some push for a modified BSD but there is a recent move to keep to standard licenses (as recommended by this group) like GPL/LGPL

ATLAS Licensing Status - G. Stewart

Very similar to CMS now… All the code copyrighted to CERN as the ATLAS Collaboration is not a legal entity

Recent question to the collaboration about objections to a permissive license, and a public release of the code: none so far


We need to explain to developers, in particular the generator community, the difference between (viral) licensing and recognition, and in particular the problems resulting from using a GPL license for small pieces of work, inserted into larger multi-purpose frameworks.

Nick says license is defined by the copyright owner, not the author. So it depends on where and when the code was written and which institution employed the author. Nick also confirmed that industry groups do not like to work with GPL’d software due to its viral nature. Liz provided a specific example of that in email after the meeting, see below.

INFN Views - F. Giacomini

(Input received after the meeting, sent by email to HSF Forum list on 23/2, added to the summary for reference. INFN view has thus not been discussed during the meeting).

Note: INFN is aware that EUPL cannot be adopted by CERN who as an international organization cannot be brought in national courts.

*Note also that in the context of experiment collaborative software (where appropriation is not a concern), a permissive license may make collaboration with industry easier. Liz wrote email to HSF Forum list on 06/03, sharing an instance when CMS participation in an Nvidia hackathon had to be abandoned because Nvidia was not sure if collaborating with CMS would endanger its own IP. *