07.25
11

Mark Shuttleworth calls for contribution agreements

by admin ·

Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has pointed out in another long blog post, why he endorsed contribution agreements, in which the rights to free contributions to projects are fully transferred to the project.

With ownership comes responsibility for his care, wrote Shuttleworth . In the software world, this means that code changes, questions answered or brand name must be defended. If someone contributes a patch, he imposes the further maintenance of this code on the project, except perhaps when there is an externally-maintained plugin. It is therefore only fair that the project to transfer the rights to the patch. Ideally, he should get his part of the project a far-reaching license back to the patch.

In this way, does the contribution agreement (Contributor License Agreement, CLA) from Canonical. This is not mentioned by Shuttleworth, of Canonical, but has only recently initiated Project Harmony corresponding compiled templates . Shuttleworth is of the opinion that anyone who adds a patch to a project, the project should give the rights, even if the CLA is not optimal. Canonical signing each CLA itself readily to strengthen the relevant project. Many contributors reject something because they fear for example, that the project, particularly if a single company stands behind it, could use the code in proprietary products. Such concerns Shuttleworth described as unhelpful, and he even advocated dual licensing. In his view, open source is within the scope still weak and he would appreciate it greatly if more companies would release their software under the GPL and there were more jobs that have to do with the letter of GPL code, instead of proprietary code.

Without CLA, many companies take such a step would not even consider.


Reserve the rights to his patch, according to Shuttleworth anyway not as effective as some think, although they retain the copyright by law, of course. If a change in the license queue, each contributor would be asked whether he agreed with. Those who do not respond, gives his tacit consent, and the code of people who do not agree, could be quickly replaced in the rule.

In the discussion on the article worth reading, there is some criticism of Shuttleworth’s statements. This is what some commentators do not know where a CLA should be helpful. On the contrary, have a CLA in the community a bad state and would reduce contributions. The “burden of care,” a patch is negligible, and Shuttleworth’s argument is therefore doubtful. They accuse him, that his views were too company-centric.

Others suggest that CLA should simply request that patches submitted under a liberal license like the MIT program, which allow a relicensing. Associated with translations that are filed with Launchpad and under the BSD license, must themselves already Canonical use such an approach.

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