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From Rob Vesse <rve...@dotnetrdf.org>
Subject When is an ICLA needed?
Date Tue, 20 Jan 2015 10:57:37 GMT
All

I keep an eye on the Lucene.Net TLP since I use it in some of my other
projects and after a long hiatus the activity in that community has picked
up considerably.  However there is one thing that has caught my eye that
they've been doing recently which I'm not sure is strictly necessary.  I
noticed that as they've been recruiting new contributors (not committers)
for their porting efforts they've been asking these contributors to sign
the ICLA before they will accept a pull request.

My understanding was always that the ICLA is only required if you are a
committer though may still be desirable for larger contributions, quoting
from http://www.apache.org/licenses/#clas -

"The ASF desires that all contributors of ideas, code, or documentation to
the Apache projects complete, sign, and submit (via postal mail, fax or
email) an Individual Contributor License Agreement
<http://www.apache.org/licenses/icla.txt> (1) (CLA) [ PDF form
<http://www.apache.org/licenses/icla.pdf> ]. The purpose of this agreement
is to clearly define the terms under which intellectual property has been
contributed to the ASF and thereby allow us to defend the project should
there be a legal dispute regarding the software at some future time. A
signed CLA is required to be on file before an individual is given commit
rights to an ASF project."

Note the use of the word "desires" here, only committers are required to
have an agreement on file.  Contributors can always make contributions
without one since the Apache License explicitly has a clause that covers
this (http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0#contributions).

Actual committers still have to merge and push the pull requests made by
contributors to the ASF repos so from an ASF perspective the provenance of
the contributions is OK since we know they were pushed by a committer
(though obviously committers still need to be reviewing the contributions
to check for any possible IP violations)

Is my understanding on this right?

If so I shall be pinging their dev list to remind them of this since IMO
they are putting a potentially unnecessary hurdle in front of new
contributors.

Additionally they don't appear to have offered committership/PMC
membership to any of these new people who have signed ICLAs and whose pull
requests are getting merged so I will be pinging the list to remind them
about this regardless.  I've seen that there are several people who've
made considerable sustained contributions which in any other ASF project
I've been involved in would have earned them sufficient merit to be
offered at least committership (if not PMC membership) by now.

Regards,

Rob





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