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From Robert Burrell Donkin <robertburrelldon...@gmail.com>
Subject On The Tao Of CLAs [WAS Re: Copyright Notices, Source Headers and Licenses (By Example)]
Date Mon, 17 Oct 2011 14:39:07 GMT
On Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 8:41 PM, Pedro Giffuni <pfg@apache.org> wrote:
> I think we discussed this before but it would be excellent
> if Robert can further clarify it once and for all.

Apache process evolves :-)

Opinions differ and consensus emerges forever but I'll add a few words
to the mix...

> I think that since the code is being clearly contributed
> to us through bugzilla we can apply section 5 "Submission
> of Contributions". of the AL2. Of course we still have
> to make sure the author and the submitter are the same
> person, but bugzilla does do some minimal identity
> check.

<snip>

>> > Just to check ... The Croatian dictionary has been
>> > re-submitted under an Apache License 2 (bug 96705),
>> > however the zip file submitted still contains the
>> > LGPL in the makefile.
>> >
>>
>> We should try to get the author to sign an iCLA.  (or
>> do we need an SGA?)  This is not just a small patch.
>>  The author is contributing an entire dictionary.

The Apache License, Version 2[1] contains a contribution clause which
might suffice but I'm going to step and take a broader view :-)


>From a community perspective, any contributor of a substantial work is
a potential asset. Encouraging and mentoring a contributor along the
path towards becoming a committer is a satisfying experience but it is
also an essential part of the open development model used at Apache.

In some other models, a small number of dedicated core developers
review patches from a large number of contributors. An open
development model instead spreads the load across more developers with
varying levels of energy. Healthy projects need a continuous flow from
user to contributor to committer (and onwards to PMCer and Apache
Member) bringing in new energy and ideas.

Encouraging people to submit CLAs - as part of wider contact about how
development works at Apache - often proves a wise investment. Every
committer must have a CLA on file, so submitting one is a step on that
road. It is also a reasonable test about how serious a contributor is
about

So, I think a good first step would be for a volunteer to jump in and
reach out to the contributor in a positive fashion. If the contributor
is happy to file a CLA and work towards karma, that's great. From
substantial works, the extra ceremony associated with a grant


It's important to establish consensus about general conventions for
contributions. It's unfair to pick on particular contributors or
contributions. So, I'd like to talk now a little more generally.

Building a work from a series of small patches recorded in a version
control system creates a convincing and detailed audit record. From a
provenance perspective, complete and substantial works are much more
tricky. When this sort of work arrives, the community should ask
itself "Why?". Perhaps there is no easy route for contributors to
start working in this fashion, or perhaps one exists but isn't clearly
documented.

The additional ceremony required for software grants brings the
advantage of clearer visibility, and are (for this reason) generally
slightly preferable to CLAs for substantial works.

When a substantial work arrives and a CLA or SGA has been sought but
cannot be obtained, the legal risks presented by the work should be
weighed. In this case, raise on legal-discuss or ask mentors to obtain
advice.


Source code allows reasonable expressiveness. Dictionaries are (in
some ways) more difficult and risky but I'll save that for a follow up
post.

Robert
[1] http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0.html

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