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Re: [tdf-discuss] Copyright Assignments & the Document Foundation


Charles-H. Schulz wrote:
Andrea Pescetti a écrit :
Honestly, I believe new developers joined because the bar for contribution was lowered ... the paperwork reduction may have helped too, but I don't see
it as the most effective improvement.
The paperwork was only a practical detail: not relinquising your
copyright is the most important.

I haven't seen any new contributor write that they joined because of (the refusal of) a copyright agreement; while I have seen several new contributors write that they started contributing because the "Easy Hacks" were so easy that they didn't require any previous technical knowledge.

So, unless this theory can be supported by numbers, the mere refusal of copyright assignments/agreements does not seem to me the reason why new contributors were attracted.

So we do take for granted that Oracle will not contribute to the
Document Foundation, because that's what Oracle clearly implied in their
last press release and what they told us (informally). This has to be
very clear from now on. We are still open for future discussions, of
course, but what you seem to imply is that conditions for a cooperation
would require the document foundation to assign copyright (the
contributions of the LibreOffice developers) back to Oracle again.

No, I never thought this, let alone write, let alone imply.

if we find a way to cooperate, I can assure you that the
condition will not be that we give our copyright to Oracle.

Of course. I'll retry.

If the Document Foundation wants to live in the real world, it will have to discuss with companies that work on OpenOffice.org and its derivatives (and this is peculiar to the OpenOffice.org codebase, so examples taken from elsewhere might not fit).

Now, without copyright assignment/agreement (granted by the LibreOffice developers to the Document Foundation), the Document Foundation will be in the awkward situation I described: it manages a product (LibreOffice) but cannot represent the LibreOffice developers since it doesn't own the code.

This makes it a weaker player: if the Document Foundation MANAGED, say, 20% of the "OOo+LibreOffice" code, then its "weight" in talks with corporations can be proportional to it. But if it merely REPRESENTS 20% of the code but still any decisions must be ratified by the individual developers, its "weight" will be much lower.

Do you need an example? Think of a "happy ending" where, to the benefit of users, OOo and all derivatives merge in a common project. There are many stakeholders (Oracle, IBM, Novell, Red Hat, Redflag, the Document Foundation...) and they might agree on a new, free, license with some special provisions due to the long history of OOo. Now, without copyright assignments/agreements every stakeholder would be able to join the unified project except the Document Foundation. By choosing against copyright assignments/agreements you are killing this dream... And I can't see how the Document Foundation could realistically say it is open to discuss with companies in this setting.

Regards,
  Andrea Pescetti.


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