Software Development

Eclipse Infrastructure Support for IP Due Due Diligence Type

The Eclipse Foundation’s Intellectual Property (IP) Policy was recently updated and we’re in the process of updating our processes and support infrastructure to accommodate the changes. With the updated IP Policy, we introduced the notion of Type A (license certified) and Type B (license certified, provenance checked, and scanned) due diligence types for third-party dependencies that projects can opt to adopt.

With Type A, we assert only that third-party content is license compatible with a project. For Type B third-party content, the Eclipse Foundation’s IP Team invests considerable effort to also assert that the provenance is clear and that the code has been scanned to ensure that it is clear of all sorts of potential issues (e.g. copyright or license violations). The type of due diligence applies at the release level. That is, a project team can decide the level of scrutiny that they’d like to apply on a release-by-release basis.

For more background, please review License Certification Due Diligence and What’s Your (IP Due Diligence) Type?

By default all new projects at the Eclipse Foundation now start configured to use Type A by default. We envision that many project teams will eventually employ a hybrid solution where they have many Type A releases with period Type B releases.

The default due diligence type is recorded in the project’s metadata, stored in the Project Management Infrastructure (PMI). Any project committer or project lead can navigate to their project page, and click the “Edit” button to access project metadata.

In the section titled “The Basics” (near the bottom), there’s a place where the project team can specify the default due diligence type for the project (it’s reported on the Governance page). If nothing is specified, Type B is assumed. Specifying the value at the project level is basically a way for the project team to make a statement that their releases tend to employ a certain type of due diligence for third-party content.

Project teams can also specify the due diligence type for third-party content in the release record. Again, a project committer or project lead can navigate to a release record page, and click “Edit” to gain access to the release metadata.

As for projects, the metadata for IP due diligence type is found in the section titled “The Basics”. The field’s description is not exactly correct: if not specified in the release record, our processes all assume the value specified in the project metadata. We’ll fix this.

When the time comes to create a request to the Eclipse Foundation’s IP Team to review a contribution (a contribution questionnaire, or CQ), committers will see an extra question on the page for third-party content.

As an aside, committers that have tried to use our legacy system for requesting IP reviews (the Eclipse Developer Portal) will have noticed that we’re now redirecting those requests to the PMI-based implementation. Project committers will find a direct link to this implementation under the Committer Tools block on their project’s PMI page.

We’ve added an extra field to the record that gets created in our IP tracking system (IPZilla), Type, that will be set to Type_A or Type_B (in some cases, it may be empty, “–“). We’ve also added a new state, license_certified, that indicates that the licenses has been checked and the content can be used by the project in any Type A release.

Any content that is approved can be assumed to also be license certified.

There are many other questions that need to be answered, especially with regard to IP Logs, mixing IP due diligence types, and branding downloads. I’ll try to address these topics and more in posts over the next few days.

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