Clarification around the DCO

James Bottomley James.Bottomley at
Fri Oct 16 23:59:20 UTC 2020

I noticed the thread you had about Renaming the Samba DCO:

The kernel developers have spent nearly two decades trying to develop
and refine the DCO process so that any inbound=outbound project can use
it in place of a more formal signed contributor agreement.  When you
introduce a novel legal concept like this, the key to getting it to
work is to have broad unanimity about what you're doing and why ... in
the case of the DCO this is what the DCO actually says and what Signed-
off-by: means.  To that end we've invested a lot of effort in trying to
prevent DCO fragmentation, which is why the licence of the current DCO

   Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this
   license document, but changing it is not allowed.

Firstly, in the above thread there was some confusion about who could
use the name DCO with a lot of other projects being cited.  Every other
project you referred to is an unmodified DCO user and thus is fully
entitled to use the name DCO as well ... we encourage this unmodified
reuse to keep a unitary DCO ecosystem and spread its utility to other
projects.  However, since Samba modified the DCO, you don't fall into
this category.

Secondly, Bradley dug up an older version of the DCO which had this

   The Developer's Certificate of Origin 1.0 is licensed under a
   Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License. If you modify
   you must use a name or title distinguishable from "Developer's
   Certificate of Origin" or "DCO" or any confusingly similar name.

So if you want to keep your modified version you may, provided you
endeavor to respect that condition of not having a similar name.

We'd also be very interested in bringing Samba back into the
fold of projects using unmodified DCOs.  We now have 17 years of
operating experience and for every other modification request (and
there have been many) we've always found a way to add the needed
clarity to the licence of the file instead of the DCO, so we really
think we could help you make this work for Samba as well.  It would be
really great if we could work together to do this because Samba is the
last outlier using a modified DCO and with it brought inside the fold
we'd have a unified front against the various CA/CLA abuses
corporations try from time to time.



[I'm assuming everyone on the above thread reads this list rather than
trying to unmangle the marc email addresses to add them to the cc, if
they don't, please feel free to forward this email]

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