Requests for Comments-12: Changing licence to Apache v2.0

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  • Not submitted yet


What changes will be made and why they will make a better Orfeo ToolBox

The goal is to change of licence for OTB, Monteverdi, Monteverdi2 and ice to adopt the Apache v2.0 licence. The rational for this change is as follows :

Copyleft is a very good protection for open-source software in general, since it ensures that it will remain open, but in our remote sensing world it can also lesser the dissemination of our software. Many time we heard of situations were OTB was considered by institutions or private companies for their projects and has been wiped off the table because they (or their clients or partners) wanted to distribute the resulting software under different terms.

Sometimes, costly ad-hoc technical designs are used so as to include OTB in the project while distributing it under those required terms. We could argue that this is a matter of convincing everyone that copyleft is not harmful and that OTB is worth the price, but in the mean time OTB get less audience than deserved ...

From a practical point of view it could do no harm to simply change the licence to a more permissive one. This might help to develop OTB usage and eventually get more people involved in contributions.

  • Check compatibility of OTB projects third party

We've checked that all third party library are compatible

We've taken the opportunity to :

    • OSSIM plugins contributions from OTB will be moved to MIT license (following recent changes of OSSIM license from LGPL to MIT)
    • We would like to add a special notice regarding the integration og
    • SIFTFast is released under LGPL and we still be integrated in OTB (not compiled by default).
  • Contributors agreement

Signed agreement of past contributors for license modification (adapted from Apache Software Grant).

OTB will have to adopt this type of CLA for future contributors.

  • Apply changes to OTB source code

Modifications to the source code will be done in a feature branch with a script (

    • Update documentation
    • Update info about otb license on: otb website, sourceforge, openhub,...
When will those changes be available (target release or date)

Discussion about changing the license was initiated in 2015 on the OTB blog ( We've to start again the discussion on the otb mailing-list and