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From Doug Cutting <cutt...@apache.org>
Subject Re: CCLA: "by combination" language
Date Wed, 31 May 2006 16:50:45 GMT
Jim Barnett wrote:
> While you may deter some companies that fit this category from making
> contributions, you obviously haven't deterred them all - both BEA and
> IBM are patent holder companies that have made contributions to ASF
> projects despite the apparently unsettled state of this issue.

Yes, but there are other equally large patent holding companies (who I 
don't feel comfortable naming in a public email, they can out 
themselves) who have not signed the CCLA and yet employ large numbers of 
Apache committers.  Why do you feel these companies are not signing the 

> Also, if the interpretation were otherwise, you risk limiting adoption
> of ASF project output, particularly by corporations, for fear that a
> competitor could pollute an ASF project with a contribution that is part
> of a combination patent held by that contributor, and then through
> coaching but not contribution, steer the project's subsequent
> development squarely into the necessary combination patent.

I don't see this, but rather the contrary.  If the interpretation were 
otherwise then you might have fewer companies contributing without CCLAs 
and would reduce the amount of potentially non-freely-licensed patented 
technology in Apache products.  Face it, it is not very difficult to 
slip patented technology into an Apache project without providing a free 
license.  Simply don't sign a CCLA and permit a committer to commit it. 
  A CCLA that more companies actually sign would make it a little harder.

> I think erring on the side of encouraging broadest adoption of project
> output at the expense of not getting as many patent-encumbered corporate
> contributions if the better course overall.

I agree.  But I don't see how the current CCLA encourages broader 
adoption of project output.  To the contrary, I think it encourages 
patent-encumbered corporate contributions, by encouraging companies to 
bypass the CCLA entirely, discouraging broader adoption of project 
output.  I think we agree on the ends, but not yet on the means.


[ These are my opinions, not those of my employer. ]

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