[OpenAFS] On contributor agreements

Charles Curley charlescurley@charlescurley.com
Thu, 4 Sep 2008 16:44:33 -0600

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On Thu, Sep 04, 2008 at 05:31:48PM -0400, Derrick Brashear wrote:

> As we move to make OpenAFS exist as a legal entity, this process needs
> to be formalized. One possibility would be to have a contributor
> agreement, similar to existing agreements from other projects, which
> at minimum any committer would need to sign. However there may be
> benefit in having any member of the foundation sign the agreement as a
> condition to membership (and thus making it easier to provide
> resources to all members as the capability to do so is possible).
> So, 2 questions for the community would be,
> 1) would you find a contributor agreement tenable (and what would make
> it not tenable for either you or your employer)

That of course would depend on the terms of the agreement. I think any
contributions I make on my own time I would want to make with a
license that is Open Source Initiative (http://www.opensource.org/)
approved (http://www.opensource.org/licenses), and consistent with the
material around it. For example, if the rest of the code in the
directory I am working on is the IBM license, I can go with that.

I might use a license that is less restrictive than the material
around my contribution (e.g. BSD in with a bunch of GPL stuff). But I
would not use a license that is more restrictive, as that reduces the
value of the material other people have contributed without their

> 2) would having all members of the foundation sign one as a condition
> of membership (where "sign" may not necessarily involve paper or
> physical copies, if that can be made to work) be an issue?

As to a non-physical signature most U.S. states and Canadian provinces
have a digital signature statute that covers this sort of situation. I
suspect that the law of the state of incorporation would govern, but
that's a point for an attorney.

I can imagine a non-developer joining the foundation as, e.g. an
interested user. I would not care to put off such a person by
requiring them to sign a legal licensing agreement that binds them for
a contribution they aren't even contemplating.


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