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28 May 2012, 11:07

Doctrine project switches from LGPL to MIT

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Doctrine logo The Doctrine Project, which creates tools and libraries for PHP and databases, has announced that it has switched from LGPL copyleft licensing to MIT permissive licensing. The change to a permissive licence means that users of the project's libraries will not have to release the source code to any changes they make.

The developers say they have been asked many times for a more permissive licence and, with many more permissive-licensed libraries appearing, and a desire to get the benefits of such licensing, they began the process. At the start of the year they contacted the FSF for advice on making a change; they were told that they would have to get the approval of every contributor to the project over its lifetime.

Using a web-based tool, it took the developers four weeks to get the permission of the authors of the last six years' worth of contributions – around 358 authors. The tool used examines the records of one or more Github projects, works out a list of authors by email address, sends email to them all using Mailgun, and then tracks their approve/not-approved status, producing an audit trail. The tool will be available as open source in the future, once its author has removed some hard-coded passwords and documents how to modify the various templates.

The application did need some assistance, namely the developers had to track down older contributors who lacked email addresses. In the end, everyone except 16 committers accepted the licence change and no-one refused that change. Those 16 committers' changes were either eliminated in Doctrine 2.0 or were "trivial one-line changes" and so were omitted from the relicensing.

With the process complete, the Doctrine developers have now pronounced Doctrine an MIT-licensed project. Projects under the Doctrine umbrella include an Object Relational Mapper (ORM), a database abstraction layer, a set of PHP extensions, and MongoDB, CouchDB and PHPCR Object Document Mappers.


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