2014-09-09 Recommendation to Adopt DCO as CLAΒΆ

The OpenStack Technical Committee, representing the developer community, requests that the Board of Directors consider implementing the Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) as the Contributor License Agreement (CLA) for the OpenStack project.

The current CLA is a barrier to contributions from new developers because it is a unique and unfamiliar legal document that must be reviewed. Many developers are uncertain as to what its provisions actually are. Instead, most developers would be far more comfortable with the common understanding provided by the well-known Apache License (whose provisions are understood by developers and corporate counsels alike).

As the OpenStack project grows, we need to continually recruit new developers to the project as well as convince new users that they will be able to contribute. The current CLA is a warning flag to some open source developers that the project does not operate in the way they expect an open source project to work, and it makes it more difficult for users to contribute simple fixes easily.

The need for the project and its contributors to understand and agree upon the terms under which contributions are made is important. The DCO accomplishes that by indicating that developers are responsible for the code that they contribute and that they understand that the contribution is under the terms of the Apache License. This simple process is familiar to developers and legal counsels and is all that is required for the licensing needs of OpenStack.