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From "Geir Magnusson Jr." <ge...@apache.org>
Subject [legal] Bulk contribution barrier to entry
Date Mon, 10 Oct 2005 22:08:20 GMT
We've now accepted three contributions so far, and I think we have a  
small problem that isn't easy to solve.

The problem is that for a bulk contribution - something created  
elsewhere and being contributed to harmony - we require that all  
authors of that work are Authorized Contributors, meaning that they  
hadn't been exposed to implementations of Java that weren't either  
available under an open source license, or were owned by an entity  
willing to give the author permission to work on other  
implementations elsewhere.

See http://incubator.apache.org/harmony/ 
bulk_contribution_checklist.html  Part III

This is a very high standard, one that helps ensure clean IP  
provenance for our codebase.

However, I suspect it will be too high of a standard.  For example,  
suppose the Kaffe project wanted to offer a copyright license to  
their codebase to Harmony?  I bet it can't be done - we'd have to  
chase down every contributor to the codebase and get the signed  
agreement.  Suppose Sun wanted to donate J2SE?  :)  I'm betting they  
couldn't provide the necessary documentation either...

So what do we do?

We need to balance a few things:

1) Make this flexible enough that the project can choose to accept  
software for which ACQs aren't obtainable from all authors.
2) Make this strong enough that we don't put the project at  
unreasonable risk, and that the consumers of the software have  
confidence that the codebase is clean.

Suggestions?  One possibility is that for those that can't satisfy  
the status quo framework, we have a set of questions that allow us to  
understand the source of the code and the manner in which it was  
developed.  We'd like this to be somewhat objective yet still give  
the project room to reject if it doesn't "feel right", we want the  
process used and information obtained to be available to the public  
so that any interested consumer of our software can understand where  
it came from.

Ideas?

-- 
Geir Magnusson Jr                                  +1-203-665-6437
geirm@apache.org



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