FSF Compliance Lab helps CiviCRM establish licensing best practices
CiviCRM is primarily using the GNU AGPL version 3, which gives them a strong copyleft, broad license compatibility, and ensures that people who interact with the software over a network—which is the primary way CiviCRM is used—have a way to receive its source code. In addition to that, like many large projects, CiviCRM depends on several other free software libraries, and has licensing policies that govern the project as a whole. But of course, for a free software license to have the most force, that information needs to be readily available to users. The Compliance Lab cooperated with the CiviCRM developers to review the software and documentation, ensuring the project followed best practices for making that license information clearly available and avoiding inconsistencies.
This is a good example of the kind of behind-the-scenes ways the Compliance Lab pitches in for free software projects: by helping developers dot their i's and cross their t's when it comes to licensing issues, users will have a better understanding of what they're allowed to do with it, and how they can collaborate with others on the project. If you're a free software developer with a licensing issue in your own project that you're wondering about, feel free to ask us about it by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org—we're happy to help.
For more information about the FSF's recommendation of CiviCRM, read our press release. Or if you'd like to learn more about the GNU AGPL, Richard Stallman recently wrote an article discussing when developers should use the license.