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From Rob Weir <robw...@apache.org>
Subject Re: OpenOffice.org user forums and the iCLA
Date Fri, 16 Sep 2011 17:22:56 GMT
On Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 11:19 PM, F C. Costero <fjcc.apache@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello. I'm a member of the English and Spanish user forums at
> http://user.services.openoffice.org/. We are discussing transferring all of
> the forums to an Apache server and operating as an aspect of the Apache
> OpenOffice.org podling. I have a question about the effect of the Individual
> Contributor Legal Agreement (iCLA) on forum users.

The iCLA has no effect on those who do not sign the iCLA.  So, to a
user, I don't think this matters.

> I understand that some members of the forums, Admins with access to the
> underlying forum software and Moderators who can move or delete posts and
> ban users, must sign the iCLA and become official members of the podling.
> Since many members of the non-English forums cannot understand the iCLA,
> there is an understandable reluctance to sign a legal agreement. It is also
> not understood what the iCLA does with respect to forum users that the Terms
> of Use of the forum does not.

The underlying issue is this:  To work effectively with Apache Infra,
on the sys admin side of the forums, and to check in changes to the
site design, an admin must be a Committer and have an Apache ID.  To
be a Committer requires that you sign the iCLA and be elected by the
Project Management Committee (PMC).

Users are not required to sign the iCLA, so this has no impact on them.

Oracle's Terms of Use on the legacy website are unlikely to remain.
The OpenOffice podling has expressed interest in rewriting those

> Question: Would the iCLA cover submissions to a user support forum that is
> associated with an Apache podling (or project) or would the submissions only
> be governed by the Terms of Use of the forum?

This might be useful to think about as analogous to "dev" and
"community" wikis at Apache.   In this analog, forums are like a
community wiki.

The community wiki does not require an iCLA for  a user to post.. But
a PMC might require that a wiki admins be PMC members.  That is a
question of PMC policy, of oversight and delegation.  It is not a
legal-discuss question.  But it does lead to the natural question of:
what is the status of a contribution that a committer makes to a
community wiki?

My personal opinion:  if  a project committer submitted documentation
in response to a support question on the forum, and did not mark it as
"Not a Contribution" then I would tend to consider it a contribution
under Apache 2.0.  For example, such documentation could be copied
into other parts of the project's website, combined with product
documentation, included in releases, etc.

> Some background on forum content
> The forums contain:
> Questions posted by users and associated answers provided by other users.
> Tutorials written by users covering how to use either OpenOffice.org or the
> forum itself.
> Macro code for automating OpenOffice.org tasks.
> A small number of posts concern forum operation (e. g. software upgrades)
> and governance (e. g. questionable user behavior).
> None of the forum content is intended to be part of the code or
> documentation distributed as OpenOffice.org.. Whether a tutorial posted on
> an Apache affiliated user forum is "Documentation" in the sense intended by
> the iCLA is the sort of question that has forum volunteers confused.

Think if it this way:  not every line of code that a Committer checks
in necessarily becomes part of the release product.  But every line
that is contributed is made available for this project and for other
projects, now and in the future, under the Apache 2.0 license.

> A large fraction of the forum content is submitted by OpenOffice.org users
> who post one or two questions and move on.
> In case you care to see the Terms of Use of the forums, they can be found
> through a link at the bottom of any forum page

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