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From "Phil Steitz" <p...@steitz.com>
Subject Re: [all] Author tags redux
Date Fri, 02 Jan 2004 18:27:38 GMT
Geir Magnusson Jr wrote:
> 
> On Dec 28, 2003, at 10:39 PM, Phil Steitz wrote:
> 
>> The subject of @author tags has been discussed on and off here and
>> elsewhere with no apparent consensus.  In a recent post to general@, Ted
>> Husted pointed to this post
>>
>> <http://tinyurl.com/yrlhu>
>>
>> by Greg Stein to community at apache.org, which raises some disturbing
>> legal and community issues around the use of @author tags. I am 
>> convinced by his arguments that we should eliminate @author tags 
>> uniformly once we clean up the web site and get the process of 
>> updating and publishing contributor lists routinized (read: complete 
>> the mavenization of the j-c web site).
> 
> 
> I'm not sure I buy the legal argument, as our CVS logs are public also, 
> and it's easy to figure out who did what in a piece of questionable 
> code.  So you haven't really don't anything by removing the author tag - 
> the author is still easily discoverable.

As I understand Greg's argument (see paragraph that starts with "From a 
legal standpoint") when your name is *in* the code with a tag that 
identifies you as the/an author, it is more likely that you may be named 
in a suit and it may be harder for the ASF to protect you.  Commit logs 
are certainly discoverable, but commits are "at the direction of the PMC" 
which provides you (or the committer) with some legal cover, or so the 
theory goes.
> 
> I think author tags are good as some/many/all people are proud to have 
> their name on things that they work hard on and contribute.  I'll be the 
> first to admit the sense of pride that I felt when contributing 
> something for the first time, and seeing my name on it.

That is a valid point, but may be a little at odds with the equally valid 
point below.
> 
> The valid point (IMO) I've heard in favor of removing them is that not 
> having them can help the sense of group ownership and community.
> 
> if I had to decide, as long as there is no additional liability in 
> having the tag in the code, I'd be for letting people/components/etc 
> choose to do what they feel is right.

I agree that the decision should be at least at the component level.
I guess we *could* allow contributors to decide, but that could result in 
some funny/misleading tags.
> 

Phil



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