Many of you are probably aware of the message I put out last month regarding the state of the project. Whether it was a happy coincidence or was spurred on by the announcement there has been some increased input into the project and I thank people for that. Let's just hope I can find the time to keep up with the reviewing of submitted code! Or persuade people to join the core team!
One topic that was raised in response to my announcement was that of licensing, and specifically the limitations that the GPLv3 license could have on potential commercial input. Now this is something that was not new to me, and indeed when I first discussed with Andreas opening the project up to the community we did discuss the topic and the relative merits. But at the time it was deemed too much effort to investigate further,
However things have changed since then and we've decided that we are going to push ahead with various efforts that could help put the project on a better footing going forward. In response to this we're doing 2 key things:
1. We're setting up a UK company, Tvheadend Foundation CIC. The CIC stands for Community Interest Company. It's a not-for-profit structure, that's somewhat similar to a charity, but with slightly less regulation. Really the project isn't necessarily big enough to warrant forming such an entity, however to properly handle the licensing changes we are planning, it's an unfortunate side effect.
2. We're going to be asking all contributors to sign a Contributor License Agreement. This will confer on the company/project a full license to do with the software as we see fit, including potentially re-licensing (though the specifics of the CLA will carefully limit what licenses would be allowable). I have already sent out an initial email to get provisional responses on the proposal, this was very positive and most people responded in the affirmative. There are a few that have not responded and we will consider our options regarding those, but they represent a relatively small percentage of the code base.
Our initial intention is NOT to change the GPLv3 license, at least not immediately, at least one of the core team (that will also be a Director of the company) is not entirely convinced with the original proposal to re-license using GPLv2. However we've agreed on this approach as it will give us the potential to change in the future if we believe an opportunity presents itself that would provide clear benefit to the project if we were to re-license using a less restrictive license.
I will try and keep people informed and those of you that have contributed code, whether it be present in the current code base or not, expect to receive another email from me regarding signing of the new CLA.
Adam (on behalf of the Team)