Re: Candidates question: Contributor agreement

On Thu, 2011-05-26 at 12:01 +0200, Olav Vitters wrote:
> Given that we already have a policy on copyright assignments[1], I
> wondered what is your position regarding contributor agreements[2]?
> Should the board do something with contributor agreements and if so,
> what should be done?

I consider contributor agreements similar to copyright assignments, just
slightly less bad (but still bad enough).

There is only one advantage that comes to my mind: It makes it easier to
relicense a codebase. This does not outweigh the barrier created for
contributions, especially having drive-by contributors in mind (people
that just contribute one patch to fix their pet peeve issue).

GNOME Evolution once required copyright assignment. It was dropped for
good reasons[1]. My Evolution patches were always too trivial to require
signing it but the idea to have to sign something first when you just
want to help improving free software / open source was certainly
confusing and partially demotivating (I don't want to fiddle with
paperwork but just submit my patch).

Entities requiring contributor agreements or copyright assignments have
their reasons why they push (or pushed) for that concept.
This has to be understood and discussed on a single case basis to better
understand motivations and help convincing why it is bad.

GNOME's Copyright Assignment statement should be enhanced to also cover
contributor assignments.


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