LEADx Open Source Policy

LEADx Open Source Counsel Office (OSCO)

This RFD creates a role, the Open Source Counsel Office (OSCO), that serves as a focal point for consultation and approval with respect to open source policy. The OSCO takes responsibility for balancing our principles surrounding open source with organizational risk — with the goal being to adhere to our open source principles while minimizing risk. If and as much as additional counsel is required (e.g., legal counsel), it is up to the OSCO to make this determination. This role is nowhere near a full-time job; it is anticipated that this function will be performed or delegated by the CTO or equivalent.

Open Source Use

Any open source component licensed under the following commonly-used licenses can be freely used without additional disclosure or approval by the LEADx OSCO:

  • Mozilla Public License, 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 variants
  • MIT License
  • Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), 3-clause, 2-clause and 0-clause variants
  • Apache License, 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 variants
  • Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL)

Additionally, any open source component under the following less-commonly used licenses can be freely used without additional disclosure or approval:

  • PostgreSQL License
  • Python Software Foundation License
  • Public Domain
  • Artistic License
  • zlib/libpng License
  • PHP License
  • ICU License
  • Eclipse Public License

Components with the following licenses can be freely used for internal use (that is, not part of any service or software offering), but can only be used for external use (part of a service or software offering) after consultation with the OSCO:

  • GNU Public License (GPL), v2 and v3
  • Lesser GNU Public License (LGPL)

Software under the following licenses can be used only for internal use (that is, they may never be used as part of any service or software offering) and use always require explicit permission of the OSCO:

  • Affero General Public License (AGPL)
  • Server Side Public License (SSPL)
  • Confluent Community License
  • Redis Source Available License
  • Any license bearing a Commons Clause addendum

Open source contribution

We believe in contributing back to the projects that we use, and seek to actively push changes upstream where and as appropriate.

Personal attribution

Any open source contribution from LEADx must have the personal attribution of the engineer (or engineers) who did the work. (In general, this attribution will take the form of the Author field of a git commit, which can differ from the Commit field.) At no point should work by one engineer be passed off as the work of another; it is every engineer's responsibility to assure that their peers are appropriately recognized. Further, even with attribution, the original engineer should generally be made aware that their work is being upstreamed. This is a courtesy (and may help inform the testing or correctness of the upstreaming); if it's not possible to engage with the original engineer, it should not impede upstreaming their committed work.


Copyright for all open source contribution is held by LEADx, but how this is attributed will depend on the specifics of the project. For files with file-based copyleft licenses (e.g., MPL, CDDL), it is our expectation that each file will bear the copyright owners of material in the file. For other licenses, this will vary; it is not uncommon for the copyright to be held by the project contributors, with a separate file elucidating these contributors (e.g., AUTHORS or similar). In this model, it is important that the e-mail address contain the author's corporate e-mail address (e.g. “@leadx.org”).

Copyright notice

Different projects differ in the mechanics of their copyright notice, and legal counsel opinion will vary on mechanics of year and so on. Our preference is for each file we have modified to bear a copyright header that includes the word “Copyright”, the year of the most recent modification, and our identity, e.g.:

 * Copyright 2019 LEADx, Inc.

If there is an existing block that has such copyrights, our copyright should be added to it, e.g.:

 * Copyright (c) 2016, 2017 by Delphix. All rights reserved.
 * Copyright 2016 Nexenta Systems, Inc.
 * Copyright 2017 RackTop Systems.
 * Copyright 2019 LEADx, Inc.

If the project differs in the way that it presents copyright (e.g., with a range of years, with the “(c)” symbol, etc.), these are acceptable. We do not, however, allow contributions without any LEADx attribution whatsoever.

Contributing source from third parties

There are occasions when we wish to integrate source from third parties into other open source projects. If the third party source is not already open source, this activity must be done in concert with the OSCO, who will take responsibility for assuring that the third party has condoned this activity and that risk is appropriately minimized.

De minimis change

Some changes can be considered de minimis, and need not have a copyright notice or update. These kinds of changes include:

  • Pure deletion of code
  • Correcting spelling or grammar
  • Changing only code comments

In general, any code change — however small — should not be considered de minimis.


A challenge of contributing to open source projects is that we expect our staff to professionally engage with people who are not LEADx employees. It is our expectation that conduct in open source engagement will reflect the professionalism of our workplace. Where this is not the case — where we believe that actions by others in the community are violating our standards for our own conduct — action should be taken. Employees who wish to report this conduct should either report it to LEADx HR. Working with the employee, the LEADx HR will determine the correct course of action, with the priority being to protect the employee.

Contributor License Agreements

If a contributor license agreement is required, the OSCO should be consulted. Most CLAs are harmless, but formal OSCO permission will regrettably be required.

Open source creation

When we create wholly new software, our overwhelming bias is to open source it. Even where we choose to not open source new software, it should always be created with the idea that it will be open sourced. This means that these guidelines should essentially be followed.


Absent explicit permission from the OSCO, all new repositories should be in BitBucket, under the “leadx” BitBucket account (that is, not under personal accounts).


For any new LEADx-created open-source software, the Apache 2.0 License should generally be the license of choice. The exception to this should be any software that is a part of a larger ecosystem that has a prevailing license, in which case that prevailing license may be used.


Especially with our broad open source disposition, in LEADx-originated repositories it can be easy to accidentally divulge a secret. Certainly, there should never be production key material or passwords in a repository, even when private. We also need to be careful about production data that might be used as test data. This data can take on subtle forms, e.g. a signed Manta URL to otherwise private data. Unfortunately, code review can be too late to catch this, as our code reviews are also publicly accessible. There is no mechanical guideline here other than to be very mindful!

Code of conduct

We have historically not adopted formal codes of conduct for our repositories, but only because many of our open source repositories predate their proliferation. In repositories that are attracting attention (in the form of use, contributors, issues, etc.), a formal code of conduct is likely well-advised. This should be done in consultation with the OSCO, but it is recommended that projects use a derivative of the Contributor Covenant.