ImageSharp Changes License, Leaves .NET Foundation
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Tuesday, 25 October 2022

The developers of ImageSharp, a modern, cross-platform, 2D Graphics library for .NET, have changed their licensing terms and have left the .NET Foundation.

The .NET Foundation describes ImageSharp as a popular .NET project and an important library within the .NET ecosystem. Earlier this year, James South, the leader of the project, announced an intent to change the license of the project and later announced that the license had changed.


Earlier this year, Six Labors (the developers of ImageSharp) announced that they wanted to discuss changes to the license. They said that the Six Labors' libraries occupy a domain of software developmental that is considered very complex. As such, huge effort is required to research, develop, and maintain the libraries which is unsustainable for a very small team of developers working in their spare time.

Previous attempts (sponsorship, support license) to provide a sustainable income to ensure the continued development of the Six Labors libraries have not proven successful, yielding less than a few months of developer income over a period of several years.

To ensure the continuation of the Six Labors libraries, new licenses have been introduced for ImageSharp v3, ImageSharp.Web v3, and
ImageSharp.Drawing v2. The team says that the new license has been explicitly designed to allow business as usual for Open Source or Source available consumers.

However, according to the .NET Foundation, the result of the change is that because the .NET Foundation only works with projects with OSI-approved licenses, ImageSharp can't remain a member under the new license, so Six Labors have decided to leave the Foundation.

According to the .NET Foundation Board, their members started talking to Six Labors about a license change earlier this year:

"We ideally wanted to help the project achieve their goals while keeping to the goals of the Foundation. We also didn’t want to rush a decision on the status of the ImageSharp project within the Foundation."

However, after "significant consideration", the .NET Foundation board decided that there wasn’t a path forward that satisfied the goals of both Six Labors and the Foundation. Projects in the Foundation must use a permissive OSI-approved license and the board is clear that projects would all be treated the same. The current 2.x NuGet packages will not be deleted, and will continue to be available for use.

The .NET Foundation Board and the Maintainer Committee say they've spent significant time discussing what to do about ImageSharp.

"We saw this situation as precedent-setting and felt a strong need to make a decision we could announce and repeat in future."

ImageSharp is still freely available on GitHub and the Six Labors website. 


More Information

ImageSharp On GitHub

Six Labors Website

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