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2010/11/5, Caolán McNamara <>:
Wasn't subscribed to this list earlier, so I'll just hijack the first
mail from the copyright thread to reply to to state my own opinion on
copyright assignments.

So, I'm not a huge fan of them

No one (no authors or developer, at least) can be.

and believe they put contributors off.
None of the various projects I've contributed to outside of had one, and had I been an individual developer, as
opposed to an employee whose company approved a block assignment thing
on our behalf, I almost certainly wouldn't have bothered to go through
the process personally on OOos behalf either. They definitely put me

Ok, you had (eventually) to assign to a private Company in the past,
now the potential entity is a Foundation, representing all
contributors. It's not the same thing.

The crucial point is not JCA/CLA ecc. but what we expect from the Foundation
and what we want the governance of the Foundation should be in the future.
It's not a black box, we can form it in the way we want, but it should have a
motivation for existing,other than being a mere repository of code. I
don't feel the need
for a foundation that does nothing really useful.

IMO, they take a lot of the fun out of it, and erect a barrier on two
fronts, the first is the practical hassle of signing it, faxing it,
sometimes even buying stamps and posting it, clicking through whatever.
Ugh, its so often not worth the pain. The other barrier is the
difference it makes to the perception of the body that wants it. Logging
a patch, implementing features, etc to help out fellow developers and
users "just like me" is one thing, but when presented with a copyright
assignment then you're pushed out into a different world where there's
some legal entity wants to own or co-own your work, and that's not a
warm and cosy place.

It's not warm, it's not cosy, but in my opinion could be more useful.
It could represent me in a much more effective way. A legal entity can receive
money, can hire lawyers, can conduct  marketing campaigns, ....

Who exactly are they, what do they want to do with it, why do they need
it. What are their motivations and can I trust them ?. If enough people
of one company or another get onto the board will they sell out and
relicense everything to some third party.

The governance and the rules of a strong foundation are up to us,
we can build as we want, because WE will build the Foundation.

 Do I have to read all their
bylaws to see if that's not going to happen. Do I trust them.

As far as I know, GNOME, KDE, Linux kernel and the GIMP along with
masses of the little projects that makes everything work, typically get
along fine without copyright assignment, though some have quirks like
optional copyright assignment.

Apache, FSF on the other side. The kernel is simply too big because one single
entity could hope to dominate it, and for historical reasons is not
even thinkable
to govern it in a different manner.

I think LibO is too important to let things going in a random way.
Random meaning that
possibly some big contributors will dominate the project, being the only
having the adequate "contribution power"

There is the advantage of being able to move up to a newer version of
the LGPL of course, but large chunks of the code is locked in as LGPLv3
anyway, so using a newer version of the LGPL is only possible if Oracle
relicenses their existing contribution under that, the current policy of
placing new work under a GPLv3+/LGPLv3+/MPLv1.1 should cover situations
like that if they arise.

As I told other times, giving power to FSF or Mozilla instead of let
TDF taking it, is not the best thing to do.



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