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From Roland Weber <rola...@apache.org>
Subject Re: hadoop commit question
Date Sat, 16 Aug 2008 18:47:35 GMT
Hello Brendan,

If you submit code, it is _your_ responsibility to ensure
that you are legally entitled to contribute it. The PMC
or reviewing committers may sometimes spot it if somebody
used code from other OSS projects, or may become suspicious
if a newcomer submits huge amounts of complex code. But
they cannot know or guarantee or take responsibility for
the origin of the code they receive, beyond the person
that submits the patch. If it later turns out that you were
not entitled to contribute the code, the PMC will remove it
from the Apache product, secretly curse you for it, and move
on. Most of the legal trouble will stick with you.

Some projects that play in Microsoft's turf take extra
precautions to avoid even the suspicion of IP leaks.
Because they couldn't afford a lawsuit, even if they
are within the bounds of the applicable laws. (I'm
sure there are other companys where such precautions
are taken, Microsoft is just a prominent example.)


Brendan Miller wrote:
> longstanding curiosity about what the legal basis for things like that
> are, and how they apply to programmers.

This document should satisfy your curiosity:
http://www.softwarefreedom.org/resources/2007/originality-requirements.html


> I would *guess* hadoop isn't an exact clone, and having seen similar
> code bases doesn't count as reverse engineering? But, IANAL.

IIRC, Hadoop came with some backing from Google, so
they don't have extra precautions. Having seen code
does not automatically exclude you from contributing
to Hadoop. But if you start to feel that you might be
re-implementing something you have seen elsewhere,
your alarm bells should go off. Then it's time to
stay away from that particular part of the project,
or to seek permission from your former employer.

hope that helps,
   Roland




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