Question on MIT Kerberos Library licensing

Greg Hudson ghudson at
Thu May 10 14:52:59 EDT 2018

On 05/10/2018 02:14 PM, Eran Messeri wrote:
> "OpenVision retains all copyrights in the donated Source Code. OpenVision
> also retains copyright to derivative works of the Source Code, whether
> created by OpenVision or by a third party. The OpenVision copyright notice
> must be preserved if derivative works are made based on the donated Source
> Code."

Speaking as the primary maintainer of MIT krb5, who is not a lawyer and
is not qualified to give legal advice:

My personal interpretation of this license text is just that OpenVision
does not assign copyright to the creators of derivative works when
providing permission to create derivative works.  Under that
interpretation, I don't think there is anything worrisome about it; it
just means that derivative works are jointly owned by OpenVision and the
author of the changes, as one would expect.  MIT krb5 has been used in a
number of commercial products, including by companies with big legal
departments, and I don't recall that particular license text raising a
concern in the past (although as I joined the project only ten years
ago, I wouldn't necessarily know about all issues raised).

I cannot speak for OpenVision, and I do not know for sure what happened
to that business entity or its IP portfolio.  The work covered by that
license was contributed in the early 1990s and is fairly extensive (it
includes the krb5 GSS mech and the kadmin subsystem).

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