[OpenAFS] Funding the formation of an OpenAFS Foundation

Jeffrey Altman jaltman@your-file-system.com
Thu, 27 Sep 2012 11:25:27 -0400

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On 9/27/2012 9:33 AM, Troy Benjegerdes wrote:
> Then what the hell *is* the deal with the AFS trademarks?

As in "what is a trademark?" or "what rights does a trademark give the
holder?" or "why won't IBM simply give the trademarks away?" or
something else?

> Can I market a product as 'Compatible with OpenAFS'?

Since there is no definition of "Compatible with OpenAFS" that is a
question for you to ask your corporate attorney.   That is not a
question this mailing list can answer for you.

> If I submit code to Gerrit for an IPv6 implementation that afs3-std has=
 not signed off on, is someone going to claim I'm violating IBM's tradema=
rks and/or the copyrights on the .xg files? =20

Trademarks have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not OpenAFS
will accept code that implements a non-standardized extension.
OpenAFS will not accept non-standardized extensions because of an
agreement that the OpenAFS Elders and Gatekeepers made with the
community when the AFS3 Standardization Process was created.

Trademarks also have nothing to do with creating derivative works of the
=2EXG files.  The problem with the .XG files is that they are licensed
under the IBM Public License 1.0 which is incompatible with the IETF RFC
Editor publication requirements.  The AFS3 Standardization Process can
make derivative works and publish them in a forum that is not the IETF.

> I would like to hear an opinion of the Usenix association lawyers, IBM'=
s laywers, or Red Hat's lawers, as a public statement on this mailing lis=
t, rather than all the uninformed speculation all of us are doing about i=

I would like world peace and to win the lottery without buying a ticket.
 Welcome to the real world where we do not get to have explicit rules
and legal clarity.

>>> Is there a statement to what ends a donation to the Usenix openafs fu=
nd would be used for?
>> Any purpose the Elders believe will further the ends of OpenAFS. Given=

>> the low amount of money involved it has been things like
>> - procuring a 64 bit intel machine for a Linux port when such things w=
ere rare
>> - subsidizing (or guaranteeing against) cost overruns for AFS workshop=
> I think the Elders have done a wonderful job ensuring the AFS workshops=

The Elders are not involved in running the workshops.    The Elders are
a financial backstop to ensure that a workshop can cover its expenses if
there is insufficient attendance or unforeseen problems occur.  Secure
Endpoints Inc. is the legal backstop that provides insurance,
contracting, payment processing, payroll, and other services to the
organizers.  At some workshops a quorum of Elders have attended and hold
a Q&A session but that is the extent of the involvement.

> Unfortunately, this appears to be all they are capable or willing to do=
, since there has been talk of a foundation for years, and the conclusion=
, as far as I can tell, was 'its too hard, with all the trademark/IBM lic=
ense nonsense'.

You are seriously beginning to try my patience.  OpenAFS is what it is
today because of the OpenAFS Elders and the Gatekeepers who have worked
very hard for nearly twelve years to protect OpenAFS for the community
of end users without compensation and at considerable personal expense.
 We have funded lawyers, we have paid for travel, we have taken time out
of our lives to visit end user organizations and potential corporate

I am very sorry that you do not get to have everything that you want in
life.  I wish that it was possible to incorporate and sustain a
Foundation in 2006 when the efforts to do so began.  If so, I could have
a nice job being paid to be a gatekeeper.  I would not have needed to
fund Your File System, Inc., accept an SBIR contract, and put my family
at deep financial risk in order to satisfy my goal as a Gatekeeper.
That being developing software for the community so that organizations
do not end up in a position where their choice is to discard 20 years
worth of data or perform multi-million dollar conversions to something
new.   Producing the necessary software needed for the next decade
requires millions of dollars of developer time.  Resources that the
OpenAFS end user community have been unable to provide for a broad range
of reasons.

Your statements are effectively calling myself, Derrick, Russ, Laura,
Todd, Ali, Harald, Warren, Tom, and the rest of the Elders
"incompetent".  For that I take offense.  The Elders are highly
competent individuals who were asked to serve because of expertise that
they bring to the organization.  Laura has tirelessly worked within IBM
to release AFS as open source in the first place and to try to obtain
the legal assurances that we require.

> What is the official documented process for me to apply to be an AFS El=
der and try to get some of this crap done?

OpenAFS Elders are self selected.  As an Elder, I would nominate others
to join the Elders when I determined that an individual had expertise
which would benefit the group or was in a position to evangelize OpenAFS
within critical communities or could ensure funding.  One of the most
important criteria is being able to work well with the other members of
the Elders and the Gatekeepers.  Since everyone is a volunteer with
limited time resources, it is critical that members work efficiently and
remain motivated to contribute.

While I appreciate your frustration and motivation, I do not appreciate
your attitude.  Nor do I understand what it is that you believe that you
could do that others have not done in the past or are not continuing to
do to this day?

Are you going to speak with the CIOs of major research universities and
ask them to contribute?  Done that.

Are you going to ask the U.S. Dept of Energy, CERN and the associated
HEPix community members to contribute?  Done that.

Are you going to ask the Fortune 500 corporations that use OpenAFS to
contribute?  Done that.

Are you going to ask Michael Bloomberg to contribute?  Done that.

Are you going to obtain legal representation from the Software Freedom
Law Center and hold endless discussions with IBM attorneys?  Done that.

Are you going to speak with open source umbrella organizations such as
the Software Free Conservancy about hosting OpenAFS?  Done that.

Are you going to speak with major hardware vendors such as EMC, NetApp,
Sun Microsystems (now Oracle), HP, etc. about embedding AFS protocol in
their products?  Done that.

Are you going to speak with major operating system vendors and Linux
packagers about distributing OpenAFS or an internally developed
implementation?   Done that.

Are you going to travel the world giving talks at conferences
evangelizing OpenAFS?  Done that.

Are you going to apply to Google Summer of Code and mentor students in
an effort to grow the developer base?  Done that.

Are you going to establish partnerships with Undergraduate Computer
Sciences programs and fund Capstone Senior Projects to grow the
developer base?  Done that.

Do you really think that the Elders and the Gatekeepers have done
nothing for the last twelve years?   Respect and trust is something that
is earned.  The Elders and my fellow gatekeepers have earned my respect.
 I believe they have earned yours as well.

In addition, the OpenAFS Elders and Gatekeepers have respect for the
wishes of IBM when it comes to OpenAFS because without IBM OpenAFS would
not be available for continued use.  When IBM's representatives say to
us that they want to ensure that future releases are backward compatible
with IBM AFS 3.x, we take that very seriously.  The Elders and
Gatekeepers respect that IBM owns the trademarks and that IBM gets to
determine the meaning of "AFS compatible" even if they haven't put it in
writing.  As a Gatekeeper and former Elder I ask that you respect the
judgement of the Elders.

Jeffrey Altman

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