About Licensing TrustTheVote Project Software

All OSET-supported software development work results in open-source software. The software is available via an open-source license, the OSET Public License (or OPL), and is distributed via our public-access source code repository.

The OPL has what may be a unique mission among open-source licenses: to define the legal terms of use for software to be acquired by state and local government organizations engaged in conducting or supporting elections. This is admittedly a narrow application of OSS licensing, but there is a unique situation involving local, county, and even State procurement regulations which require some terms and conditions in licensing where the most popular licensing vehicle, the GPL will not suffice.

The OSS licensing requirements of this narrow domain (elections jurisdictions acquiring digital technology) should not be conflated with the licensing of OSS to Federal agencies who operate under different procurement regulations that more easily support well-settled principles of broader OSS licensing.

Practically speaking, although anyone can acquire software works resulting from the R&D and education charter of the OSET Foundation, or source code from the TrustTheVote Project, the typical licensee will be a State, county, or local elections jurisdiction—either directly, or indirectly through their chosen systems integration vendor.

To be sure, our preference would have been to simply rely on a popular OSS licensing method (i.e., GPL). We developed the OPL after extended careful consideration of the deployment realities in local governments. We would not have taken the time (let alone money) to do so without a clear requirement to do so from Stakeholder feedback.

We encourage you to read the license for yourself. You will see it is, in every intent of its wording an OSS license.

To learn more about the rationale for the OPL, why it was necessary, why it is based on the Mozilla Public License,
please read our OSET Public License Rationale Document.

For more information we have an “FAQ” available in PDF form here: OPL FAQ .pdf

The OPL version 2.0 is in force as of 12.March 2014 and supersedes all prior versions. Pursuant to new Section 11.2, you may distribute Covered Software under the terms of the version of the License under which you originally received the Covered Software, or under the terms of any subsequent version published by the license steward, the OSET Foundation.

The license is available in HTML or PDF format.

To download a Plain Text (ASCII) file, click here.

Although the official comment period for Version 2.0 closed at midnight pacific standard time on the 28.February 2014, on-going comments are always welcome as described in the available Rationale document.

Questions: Please contact legal@osetfoundation.org.

Credits: The OPL and the rationale document were developed by our licensing counsel Heather Meeker of O’Melveny Meyers, LLP and the OSET Legal department, who appreciate the assistance and review from several professionals in the open-source license community.