How open is open?

Few days ago I have joined to the Polish OpenSolaris Portal.
One of the project aims is to make polish translation of the documentation and locales for OpenSolaris Project.

Before commiting any code I was asked to sign SCA, which was not a problem, because as an Sun Employee I don't have to go through this process, but I have realized, that people outside the Sun, which are contributing to any of the OpenSolaris project have another thing to do.

I know that this is the "only" one time process, but personally I would not send signed agreement to any company, just to submit my patch to the project.

Creating artificial (from developer/my point of view) barriers simply discourage people from the community. And this is a barrier in my opinion. We are great at making the complicated things really easy, but... vice-versa.

P.S.
I am very happy that few people joined to my project (JPack), but I am a little afraid of telling them to sign SCA: "Hello my friends, I have a little surprise for you. If you want to send me a patch or commit a code, you need to send an agreement!"

Comments:

At least Sun is not as strict as the FSF on the conditions necessary to accept the SCA (I managed to sign one for Sun, not for the FSF).

Posted by Marc on June 05, 2007 at 09:20 AM UTC #

Marc you say that the Sun requirements to contribute code aren't as strict as the FSF requirements. Do you have any examples? If a project does require contributor agreements, then I hope they are strict in checking their legality and making sure that the contributors are actually able to agree to the rights and obligations that come with the shared contributor agreement. I do actually hope that if Sun acts as the guardian of the code base that their procedures are at least as strict as the FSF to make sure the code base is clean and free for all now and in the future.

Posted by Mark Wielaard on June 05, 2007 at 01:30 PM UTC #

All the time we use multiple licenses for software we need contributor agreements. They act as the bridge that allows, for example, a contribution made to OpenJDK to be included in the JDK IBM uses, since they demand a non-GPL license.

They also allow license upgrades; for example, when Sun produce the next version of CDDL it will be possible to upgrade the whole OpenSolaris code-base at once. Mozilla found it took several years to introduce modified license terms recently because they do not use a contributor agreement and so had to approach every contributor individually for permission.

Contributor agreements are common best-practice - Apache and the FSF both use them for example - and while I agree they are an obstacle to an "I just want to code and hate anything official" mind, they are currently a necessity for many large FOSS projects.

Posted by Simon Phipps on June 06, 2007 at 05:12 AM UTC #

They act as the bridge that allows, for example, a contribution made to OpenJDK to be included in the JDK IBM uses, since they demand a non-GPL license.

Posted by 网络营销 on February 18, 2008 at 12:25 AM UTC #

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