[Samba] Proposal to change Samba contribution copyright policy.

Andrew Bartlett abartlet at samba.org
Tue Jul 12 22:01:48 MDT 2011

On Tue, 2011-07-12 at 14:19 -0700, Jeremy Allison wrote:
> Hi all,
> Some history. Samba has historically only accepted code
> with personal, not corporate copyright attached.
> There were a couple of good reasons for this in the past, one
> of which was that we preferred GPL enforcement decisions
> to be made by individuals, not by corporations.
> Under GPLv2, a license violator loses all rights under the
> license and these have to be reinstated by the copyright
> holders, which made controlling who those copyright holders
> were very important. People are usually much more reasonable
> than corporations :-).
> With the move to GPLv3, this is much less important than it once
> was. The GPLv3, unlike GPLv2, allows an automatic reinstatement of
> rights under the license if a violator cures the license violation
> problem within 30 days.
> Given this, I'm proposing that we modify our policy slightly
> to allow corporate owned copyright within Samba. Note I'm
> not proposing open season on corporate (C), and we'd still
> prefer to get individual copyright, or assignment to the
> Software Freedom Conservancy (as we have done in the past).
> The reason to prefer individual, or SFC owned copyright is
> for ease of relicensing components within Samba. Over time,
> we have moved certain libraries within Samba from GPL to
> LGPL, for example the tdb and talloc libraries. Re-licensing
> like this is easier if we don't have to get permission from
> a corporate legal department, but can just directly ask the
> engineers themselves, so I'd still suggest that we keep personal
> or SFC copyright for code that goes into libraries, or code that
> might be moved into a library.
> But for things like build fixes for specific platforms,
> I don't think it's necessary any more to insist on
> personal copyright, which can delay or prevent engineers
> from giving us good fixes.

My main concern is that it will make it harder to explain the line at
which we require a company that becomes gradually involved in Samba to
jump though the hoops for individual copyright.  This is typically a
very tedious process, particularly because of the lack of a standard
guidance from the Team (because is is typically a modification to
employment agreements, and because they are both confidential and
different per company). 

But in exactly the same sense, I personally feel quite bad about scaring
a company off making wiki contributions (about how to do smartcards and
Samba4) because our policy had no distinction between types of
contributions.  It would have been really good to have their experiences
in the wiki - and I'm sure the same applies to build fixes and other
small but important changes. 

Andrew Bartlett

Andrew Bartlett                                http://samba.org/~abartlet/
Authentication Developer, Samba Team           http://samba.org

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