Pivotal Joins Other Technology Industry Leaders To Advance Open Source Licensing

July 16, 2018 Cyrus Wadia

Since its inception, Pivotal has been committed to strong, open platforms and open source communities, and has backed up that commitment with our intellectual property. We contributed our code to start the Cloud Foundry Foundation, the Apache HAWQ project, the Apache Geode project, the Apache MADlib project, the Greenplum Database project, and the Steeltoe project, and continue to be the primary contributor to the Spring Framework (the most popular Java application development framework for the enterprise) and other Spring-related projects. 

Today, Pivotal joined Red Hat, Facebook, Google, IBM, CA Technologies, Cisco, HPE, Microsoft, SAP, SUSE, VMware, and more in committing to provide the open source community a cure period for license noncompliance under GPLv2 and LGPLv2. 

The General Public License (GPL) and GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) are two of the most commonly used open source software licenses, covering countless influential software projects including the Linux Kernel. One of the main features added in version 3 of the GPL is a 30-day “cure period” for license noncompliance, meaning that licensees of GPLv3 code have a reasonable period of time to correct license compliance issues before the license is terminated. 

This approach to enforcement—which was not present in GPLv2—provides the breathing space that allows for license compliance that is consistent with emerging community norms. It encourages fairness by allowing developers to fix inadvertent mistakes, for example, instead taking a more more heavy-handed approach to license enforcement.

Pivotal’s commitment extends that same cure period to licensees of GPLv2 code (see below), meaning that we will apply the cure terms and reinstatement language of GPLv3 to our copyrighted code licensed under GPLv2, LGPLv2.1 and LGPLv2 (except where we are responding to a legal proceeding). 

Pivotal and many of our peers strongly believe that actions such as this cure period Commitment is the right thing to do, to help ensure fairness over more forceful approaches to compliance enforcement, and will boost participation across open source communities.

Pivotal has three core values: Do the right thing, do what works, and be kind. This GPL Commitment reflects the spirit of these three values, and we’re happy to join the diverse group of companies already committed to furthering collaboration and participation in open source development, and adoption. 

Pivotal’s formal Commitment statement is below.

Our Commitment

Before filing or continuing to prosecute any legal proceeding or claim (other than a Defensive Action) arising from termination of a Covered License, Pivotal commits to extend to the person or entity (“you”) accused of violating the Covered License the following provisions regarding cure and reinstatement, taken from GPL version 3. As used here, the term ‘this License’ refers to the specific Covered License being enforced.

However, if you cease all violation of this License, then your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated (a) provisionally, unless and until the copyright holder explicitly and finally terminates your license, and (b) permanently, if the copyright holder fails to notify you of the violation by some reasonable means prior to 60 days after the cessation.

Moreover, your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated permanently if the copyright holder notifies you of the violation by some reasonable means, this is the first time you have received notice of violation of this License (for any work) from that copyright holder, and you cure the violation prior to 30 days after your receipt of the notice.

Pivotal intends this Commitment to be irrevocable, and binding and enforceable against Pivotal and assignees of or successors to Pivotal’s copyrights.

Pivotal may modify this Commitment by publishing a new edition on this page or a successor location.

‘Covered License’ means the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2), the GNU Lesser General Public License, version 2.1 (LGPLv2.1), or the GNU Library General Public License, version 2 (LGPLv2), all as published by the Free Software Foundation.

‘Defensive Action’ means a legal proceeding or claim that Pivotal brings against you in response to a prior proceeding or claim initiated by you or your affiliate.

‘Pivotal’ means Pivotal Software, Inc. and its subsidiaries.

About the Author

Cyrus Wadia

Cyrus Wadia is the Associate General Counsel for Pivotal Software, Inc.

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