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From Cliff Schmidt <cliffschm...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: What kind of oversight Is required for a release?
Date Tue, 15 Nov 2005 00:03:42 GMT
On 11/14/05, Mark Thomas <markt@apache.org> wrote:
> Noel J. Bergman wrote:
> > I do not believe that this is a relative matter.  As I understand it, the
> > requirement is for PMC votes, and projects that don't do that are misguided
> > and not in accord with the ASF's structure.  Committers have no standing in
> > our bylaws; only PMC members have standing.  Which is one reason why Roy has
> > said that any Committer who is not a PMC member should be asking why not,
> > and wanting to be.
>
> So why don't we just merge the concept of Committer and PMC member? If
> Committers should be PMC members, why not just change our processes so
> this is always the case?

One reason is that some committers may not want to take on the
responsibility of being part of the PMC that represents the ASF and
releases products.  Some committers may just prefer to code without
that sort of responsibility.

Here is what I advise the projects that I lead or mentor (CAUTION:
this is not any sort of ASF doctrine, its just my opinion -- and
nothing to do with my legal affairs position.):

> let me just emphasize that being part of a PMC
> means operating on behalf of the ASF.  One way to think about it is
> that, as a committer, you are just using Apache's infrastructure and
> communities to license *your* intellectual property (or possibly your
> employer's) to the ASF and all its users -- and ideally collaborate
> with everyone nicely.  However, as a PMC member, you are making
> decisions about the project and also creating new intellectual
> property (such as the actual distribution's collective work copyright)
> that is owned by Apache -- not by you.  In addition, should some
> individual/company/government believe that Apache has violated a civil
> or criminal law, the relevant PMC members are much more likely to be
> involved than the committers (except for a committer who tried to
> license to Apache IP that they didn't own).  The PMC chair will be
> even more likely to be involved in such a problem, but all PMC members
> are taking on some amount of responsibility for the actions that the PMC
> takes when it brings in contributed software and releases software.
>
> I'm not trying to scare anyone away.  I just want to make sure nobody
> thinks, "hmm...PMC member > committer....I want that."  There's a
> downside too: more work, less working for yourself and more for
> Apache, and some amount of hard-to-quantify personal legal risk
> related to everything Apache does.  It's true that having a foundation
> makes this legal risk less than it otherwise would be, but it is still
> the case that a PMC member is more likely to get dragged into any
> problem than a random committer would be.

Cliff

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