Clarification around the DCO

Jeremy Allison jra at
Sat Oct 17 00:43:57 UTC 2020

On Fri, Oct 16, 2020 at 04:59:20PM -0700, James Bottomley via samba-technical wrote:
> 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
> says
>    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
> licence

Yes, that was the version I originally based ours on.
I thought it was a really good idea :-). I called it
our "DCO" as I just assumed that's what such things
were called.

>    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.

Yeah, I didn't notice that bit :-).

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

I was a little concerned about the effect that changing
our text might have on people/companies who have already
sent in our text.

I don't want to have to get re-submissions from everyone,
as I hope you can understand.

We provisionally came up with a name of "Samba Developer's Declaration"
which would seem to satify the "different name" criteria.

> 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 not averse to moving to your "standard" DCO, so
long as it doesn't mean chasing down everyone to
re-submit :-).

Otherwise, renaming ours to "Samba Developer's Declaration"
might seem to work also (with proper (C) attribution
added of course).



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