snapd contribution license

Michael Hall mhall119 at
Wed Jun 15 04:03:59 UTC 2016

On 06/14/2016 11:42 PM, thgntlmnfrmtrlfmdr wrote:
> Hi guys, let's talk about snaps. There seems to be a problem with the
> snapd contributor's license
> agreement:
> "2.3 Outbound License
> Based on the grant of rights in Sections 2.1 and 2.2, if We
> include Your Contribution in a Material, We may license the
> Contribution under any license, including copyleft,
> permissive, commercial, or _*proprietar*y_ licenses. As a
> condition on the exercise of this right, We agree to also
> license the Contribution under the terms of the license or
> licenses which We are using for the Material on the
> Submission Date."
> As you can see, it seems to allow Canonical to relicense any
> contribution to snapd under a closed source license. In other words, it
> doesn't seem to be copyleft at all, since Canonical can take it out of
> the open source ecosystem at any time apparently.
> As far as I can tell, the license isn't permissive either, since only
> Canonical can relicense stuff. Thus is appears to be a nonfree license.
> Am I reading this wrong? What is going on here?

That is not a correct reading of the CLA. The ability to license
something as non-open in the future doesn't change the fact that what is
currently released is open. Technically if somebody is the sole
copyright holder on a project they always have this ability, even if
they released it under the GPL without a CLA. The open licenses in
almost all cases are perpetual, which means you can't revoke the open
license on existing code, only change it for future code. Nor are CLAs
something uncommon for open source projects, the FSF uses them,
OpenStack uses them, and many many more.

Please don't let yourself get pulled into FUD about the CLA. To date
Canonical has only ever open sourced projects that had started out
closed, never the opposite.

Michael Hall
mhall119 at

More information about the Ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing list