[OpenAFS] On contributor agreements

Jason Edgecombe jason@rampaginggeek.com
Thu, 04 Sep 2008 20:01:19 -0400

Charles Curley wrote:
> 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
> say-so.
>> 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.
I second that "it depends on the agreement" point. I'm fine with the
GPL, BSD, MIT or IPL. My employer has allowed GPL submissions, but
prohibited IPL submissions. My employer will not enter any agreement
where disputes are required to be resolved in a state other than North
Carolina. The IPL is not acceptable because the license requires that
disputes be resolved in New York. I have yet to push the idea of
contributing BSD code to an IPL project.

I'm not opposed to signing the contributor agreement to join the
foundation, but the cost, benefits, and terms must be acceptable to my