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Apereo/Sakai Licenses are now managed from

License Management Practice


The Apereo Foundation uses various licenses to distribute software and documentation, to accept regular contributions from individuals and organizations, and to accept larger grants of existing software products.

These licenses and the license management practice help us achieve our goal of providing reliable and long-lived software products through collaborative open source software development. In all cases, contributors retain full rights to use their original contributions for any other purpose outside of Sakai while providing the Foundation the right to distribute and build upon their work within Sakai.


This practice describes the policies, procedures, and legal documents which the Apereo Foundation uses to protect the Sakai brand, the Foundation, and the community by ensuring a legally compliant and simple distribution, while minimizing the "process overhead."

This is achieved by:

1. Describing the Educational Community License and its application.
2. Describing the Contribution Agreements the Foundation uses to accept contributions from the community.
3. Describing the Process by which 3rd party code released by other projects is introduced into the Sakai distribution, how it is evaluated, how decisions are made, and how it is documented.
4. Providing a forum for discussion and resolution of licensing questions and issues.

Licensing of Distributions

All software produced by The Apereo Foundation or any of its projects or subjects is licensed with an Outbound License which is approved by the Open Source Initiative. The whole compilation which the Apereo Foundation releases as the Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) is licensed under the terms of the ECL.  It is important to understand, however, that many component parts of the Sakai software distributions retain their original copyright and licensing terms.

The Apereo Foundation believes that open-open licensing is fundamental to achieving the goals of the Sakai Community. The ECL is "open-open" because it permits unrestricted, use, modification, and distribution without a copyleft provision to require downstream modification to carry the same terms. The ECL is fundamental to achieving the goals of the Sakai project and supportive of collaborative development across both nonprofit and commercial organizations.  The ECL was certified by the Open Source Initiative in 2005. 

Sakai CLE distributions starting with version 2.6 are licensed under the ECL 2.0, unless otherwise explicitly stated.  Earlier Sakai CLE distributions (versions 1.0-2.5) were licensed under the terms of ECL 1.0.  

See the License FAQ for more info on how to apply to ECL to your contributions.

Contributor License Agreements

Apereo has modeled a practice using contributor license agreements after the Apache Foundation. The contributor license agreement (CLA) contains a mix of protections for the individual contributor and protections for the community which benefit the contributor indirectly. The License FAQ details the benefits of our contributor agreements to individuals and the community.

To achieve these benefits for our community, Apereo desires that all contributors of code, documentation, or other items to the Sakai Project complete, sign, and submit an Individual Contributor License Agreement (CLA). The purpose of this agreement is to clearly define the terms under which intellectual property has been contributed to the SF and thereby allow us to defend the project should there be a legal dispute regarding the software at some future time. A signed CLA is required to be on file before an individual is given commit rights to an SF project.

For a corporation that has assigned employees to work on the Sakai Project, a Corporate CLA (CCLA) is available for contributing intellectual property via the corporation that may have been assigned as part of an employment agreement. Note that a Corporate CLA does not remove the need for every developer to sign their own CLA as an individual, to cover their contributions that are not owned by the corporation signing the CLA.

Software Grants

When an individual or corporation decides to donate a body of existing software or documentation to the Sakai Project, they need to execute a formal Software Grant agreement with the Apereo Foundation.

Working with 3rd Party Code

The Sakai software distribution(s) use 3rd party code and libraries developed by other individuals and organizations and licensed under specific terms deemed compatible with the ECL and Apereo's policies. The Apereo Foundation uses a simple, yet effective process to ensure that use of 3rd party code is documented and the terms of use for such code are understood and followed.

Follow the 3rd party evaluation process if you are considering using 3rd party code in work for the Sakai project.

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