Intent to adopt the Apache License 2.0 for Scala

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Jorge Vicente Cantero and Adriaan Moors


Good news everyone! By popular demand, we intend to change the license that Scala is distributed under from the 3-clause BSD License to the Apache License v2.0. You have until 10 August 2018 to raise any objections (see below for contact info).

Why the change?

A number of contributors have expressed reservations about the asymmetry between our CLA (Apache v2) and our license (BSD-3). This change fixes this asymmetry.

How are the licenses different?

Backed by the Apache Software Foundation, the Apache license is essentially a more carefully worded version of the BSD license, with the addition of a patent grant. There are a few other smaller differences, discussed below.

When will the change take effect?

Unless valid objections are raised by the deadline, we will immediately begin updating the licensing terms of all applicable files in the GitHub repositories of the Scala organization that are currently licensed under the 3-clause BSD License, so that subsequent releases will be governed by the Apache License v2.0.

How does the change affect me, as a Scala user or contributor?

Practically speaking, we are not aware of any way in which the change would affect you negatively. In fact, the patent grant clause should help alleviate any concerns you or your employer may have around patent litigation.

How does the change affect a creator of a derived work?

Please note clause 4b of the Apache 2 license, governing redistribution: “You must cause any modified files to carry prominent notices stating that You changed the files;”

How about the CLA?

We will continue to require signing the same CLA, which was already derived from the Apache individual contributor license agreement.


In principle, clause 5 of the license already covers licensing of contributions. However, if any disputes were ever to arise around past contributions, it helps the project to have a record that each contributor explicitly intended to contribute and that they declared to have the right to do so.

A few good reads on this topic: In Defense of Contributor License Agreements, Apache contributors need not sign a CLA.

Anything else?

Please do read the full license. It may not sound like fun, but it will only take a few minutes. Also, eat your veggies.

I Object! How do I let you know?

Let us know by the deadline, either via email ([email protected] or [email protected]) or by posting on the dedicated thread on our contributors forum.

No other means of communication will be considered on this topic. Please also see: xkcd #14.

Is any of this legal advice?