[Neuroimaging] [Nipype] changing the license of Nipype from BSD to Apache 2

Steve Pieper pieper at isomics.com
Mon Nov 16 09:46:02 EST 2015

Hi Satra -

We considered a lot of issues related to patents, copyright, etc when
working with Partners legal department to write the Slicer license [1] but
also importantly some institutional concerns about liability where software
could be used for medical purposes.  It's worked well and has been used
basically unchanged by several other projects, such as FreeSurfer [2].

There are a lot of details to consider if you really want to get into it.
Rosen's book is a great reference [3].  We also consulted him (in person in
addition to reading his book) when putting together the Slicer IP
policies.  I'd be happy to discuss what we considered at the time.

So you could consider using a version of the Slicer license.  Apache 2
might be a better choice though since it's more well known and addresses
many but not all of the same issues.  ITK uses it for example.


[1] http://slicer.org/pages/LicenseText

[2] https://surfer.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/registration.html

[3] http://www.rosenlaw.com/oslbook.htm

On Sun, Nov 15, 2015 at 1:46 PM, Nathaniel Smith <njs at pobox.com> wrote:

> Apache 2 and GPL 2 are incompatible, so you risk reducing how many people
> can use your code.
> Some projects dual license under BSD and Apache 2, because they want to
> offer BSD terms to the world, but they want to ask contributors to make the
> patent guarantees required by Apache 2.
> Actually making license changes generally requires tracking down every
> person who's ever contributed a patch and getting them to sign off on it.
> Maybe you don't need that for this case given the particular licenses;
> you'd need to check with an OSS lawyer if you wanted to try something more
> clever.
> -n
> On Nov 15, 2015 10:40 AM, "Satrajit Ghosh" <satra at mit.edu> wrote:
>> hi all,
>> i had a question last week about Nipype's license (an area i don't
>> understand well) and i was told that the BSD license can be restrictive in
>> a software patenting sense. here is one post i found that describes the
>> differences, and the legal differences have to do with software patents,
>> something that didn't exist when the original BSD/MIT style licenses were
>> crafted.
>> https://www.chef.io/blog/2009/08/11/why-we-chose-the-apache-license/
>> i would like to ask this community for guidance on the issue or pointers
>> to people who can provide guidance.
>> if there doesn't seem to be any major roadblocks and apache 2 offers some
>> advantages over BSD, i'm inclined to adopt it. the change seems quite
>> straightforward, but before we embrace it, i would like to get a better
>> handle.
>> cheers,
>> satra
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