Arm joins industry leaders in commitment to fair enforcement of open source licenses

July 16, 2018

By Jilayne Lovejoy, principal open source counsel, Arm

Today, Red Hat announced that several leading technology companies, including Arm, are joining a diverse coalition of organizations that have come together to promote greater predictability in open source license enforcement. Alongside Amazon, Canonical, Linaro, Toyota, VMware and many  others we have committed to ensure fair opportunity for our licensees to correct errors in compliance with their GPL and LGPL licensed software before taking action to terminate the licenses.

The GNU General Public License (GPL), which guarantees end users the freedom to run, study, share and modify software, has enabled a huge amount of innovation in the open source community over the years. We are committed to working with the wider industry to ensure that GPL enforcement reflects the spirit of the free, open and reciprocal nature of the GPL. By making this GPL Cooperation Commitment for any Arm code under GPL-2.0-only, LGPL-2.1-only or LGPL-2.0-only, we are demonstrating our commitment to establishing community norms around open source license interpretation and enforcement.

What this means for the industry

Arm depends on software licensed under the GPL and LGPL. To enable hardware to do anything you need software – compilers to convert high level languages into executable code, firmware to manage the hardware, and operating systems to manage the software running on the hardware. The diversity of solutions produced by the Arm partnership has created a need for agility in software practices which can only be serviced through the open source model for software development.

By standing with our respected peers in the tech community and agreeing on the understanding and intent of the GPL, we hope to strengthen the confidence that the wider industry has in its use of open source software and continue to enable the freedom to create that has defined this movement from the very beginning.  The open source community is huge – and growing. That’s why it’s essential that we coalesce around a common approach to the use of licenses in this space.  It’s simple: Anything that helps the predictability of open source software and therefore strengthens confidence in it is good for us, good for the Arm ecosystem, and good for the technology industry as a whole.

Alex Harrod

Senior Director Public Relations, Arm
+44 7795 363057

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