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Project Electron Licensing Principles and Approaches

Overall Principles

Open by default

Openness is paramount to this project, so we start by using open-source components, creating documents in open formats, and licensing both code and software with the most permissive license possible. We want the components of Project Electron to be as widely available as possible to any other institution that could make use of our work. Creating or modifying open-source software and documentation helps us uphold our philanthropic mission to give back to the cultural heritage community.

Transparent development

Our work should be visible to the public even during the development phase. Providing access to the work through every stage of the process helps ensure sure we are actually making a system that the larger community can use and encourages buy-in and participation from the broader cultural heritage community.

Clear and open licensing

It is critical to the success of this project that we clearly tell others how they may use the code, documentation or other products we create. We use open licenses as a default, falling back to more restrictive licenses only when absolutely required. Complex licensing can be a hindrance to wider adoption of the end product, so we aim to simplify our licensing approach.

Proprietary solutions as absolute last resort

We acknowledge that at some point we may need to implement proprietary software or code in order to solve a particularly difficult problem, but that should always be a last resort. Proprietary software will only be used with approval of both parties involved in the project's development.

Specific Approaches

Code

Written in a variety of languages and hosted on GitHub or other web-accessible version-control platform

License: MIT or license dictated by the software being utilized.

User documentation

Written in Markdown to facilitate format conversion and hosted on GitHub wiki (or other web-accessible version-control platform) associated with code repository

License: MIT. This is the same license as the code; any open software license is also applicable to the software documentation. If we use different licenses for the documentation than the software, we will need to make sure to apply an MIT license to any code quoted or used as an example in the documentation. MIT or license dictated by the software being utilized.

Technical documentation (including data models)

Written in Markdown to facilitate format conversion and hosted on GitHub wiki (or other web-accessible version-control platform) associated with code repository

License: MIT. This is the same license as the code; any open software license is also applicable to the software documentation. If we use different licenses for the documentation than the software, we will need to make sure to apply an MIT license to any code quoted or used as an example in the documentation. MIT or license dictated by the software being utilized.

Planning documents (policy documents, anonymized user stories, personas, functional requirements, etc)

Images and documents (preferably in Markdown) linked from Project Electron Website Documentation Page (currently hosted on GitHub Pages)

License: Creative Commons. These aren't really software documentation, and would not fit well within the MIT License.