Re: Copyright assignment


On Thu, 2004-08-05 at 05:35 -0700, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> <quote who="Danilo Šegan">
> > Thanks, that pretty much clears it up.  I, for one, would never want to
> > assign copyright on anything I may (potentially) do on Mono or Evolution
> > code to Novell if this is the case: when I write something as free
> > software, I want it to *remain* free.
> Note that your changes, as released by Novell under the GPL, will *remain*
> free. Novell may do non-free things with them, but your contributions to
> Evolution - as released under the GPL - are still out there, under the GPL.

That Novell can do non-free things with your code, concerns many (of
course). When the GPL is chosen as a licence for a project, the author
or contributors want the code to be free, under all circumstances, which
would not be the case. And as far as I can see, Novell is free to
discontinue development on f.i. the free Evolution at any time, and
continue to make this software under a proprietary licence. It depends
how ideological you are - do you want to worry about this, or not?

This isn't nescessarily wrong, but I see this as a two way thing - if
that would happen, we're can fork the code, but we lose corporate
support, which is bad. Novell is also in a situation where they might
lose contributions because of their policies, but I guess that is a risk
they're willing to take - after all, at least regarding Evolution, most
contributions as I know have been trivial, and Ximian/Novell has
developed most of the application. 
This is a symbiosis, so it's important that both parties have an
understanding of what is going on. How many potential contributors that
have turned around and walked away upon reading the agreement, will we
never know.

You might think of it otherwise; that if a company really wants the code
to be free, they'd oblige themselves to keep it free, as well. That
Novell has the opportunity to discontinue their support on Free Software
does not concern me now, but the future, as we all know, is unseen and

Of course, when the MIT X11/BSD licences are chosen, then the
contributor already accepts the facts above. So it is only under the GPL
(and similar licences) that this is an issue.

Sorry for keeping a tedious discussion alive, but I've said what I need
to say :-)

Best wishes,

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