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From Dalibor Topic <robi...@kaffe.org>
Subject Re: [legal] Proposed changes for the Bulk Contributor Questionnaire
Date Wed, 16 Nov 2005 01:20:28 GMT
Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
> You get a list of files.  You can go check them.  Is how those  matches
> were done significant?  Can you tell me the algorithm your  head uses? :)

Well, we could simply throw a dice, if how the matches were done is not
significant. :)

> Ah - yes.  That's they key.  We would only compare against code that  we
> were comfortable having someone look at.  Specifically, I'm afraid  of
> Sun code accidentally getting into our codebase, because the stuff  is
> so prevalent in the Java community.  It's in every Sun J2SE  distro....

That should be easy enough: just grep for "confidential J2SE software
from Sun, play nice and play fair!", or whatever the copyright headers
on such Sun software say.

Stuff beyound that would probably go beyound uncovering simple
accidents, and would require quite a bit of cooperation from Sun to
disclose the pedigree of their implementation's code and equivalent
copperation from the contributors.

Let me give you another scenario:

Purely hypothetically speaking, Sun's implementation may include third
party software, and changes to such software. Contributions from others
may include the same (open source, for the sake of argument) software
and similar changes in order to meet specific, common goals defined by
common specs.

How do we determine for sure who wrote what when, and who copied what
from whom, if that was OK then, and if the contributor has the right to
contribute his changes? In case of conflicting opinions, what do we do?
 Or even worse, if code comes from a now defunct and dead open source
project from 1997 [1], with noone around any more, the web site and
archives wiped out, what do we do? :)

I guess the point I'm trying to get across is that the best we can do
with our resources are very simple, almost trivial checks like checking
if the copyright headers are sane.

Anything beyond that gets very, very joyously complicated very quickly,
without permanent active assistance from everyone, including the
copyright holders of the proprietary implementations. Whether copyright
holders of proprietary implementations would be pleased to dedicate
resources for Harmony's potential regular inquiries about their code's
pedigree, I don't know. I'm not sure a pull model scales well in this
case. :)

dalibor topic

[1] Ueber-hypothetically, a BSD-ish licensed fork of Kaffe from back
then. It used to have a BSD-ish license, back in the days, and it got
forked quite a bit, afaict from the mailing list archives. All of that
was before my days, and quite a few of those forks are ... resting.:)

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