[Samba] Proposal to change Samba contribution copyright policy.

Michael Adam obnox at samba.org
Thu Jul 21 02:51:27 MDT 2011

Hi Jeremy,

Jeremy Allison wrote:
> ...
> 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.

Honestly, to my taste, what you are proposing is very vague.
It is also not very clear. You say you want to loosen the
requirement. But keep the requirement for library code
and code that might be moved into libraries sometime in
the future (however you want to estimate this).
And prefer personal copyright anyways. I get the impression
that you also want to base the decision of whether to accept
a patch with corporate copyright on the impact that the patch
has and the broadness. The example you give is "build fixes".
This would rather be an innocuous example, compared to a
patch adding a new feature or one changing core server behaviour.
So what is the procedure you imagine for taking patches with
corporate copyright? Do you imagine that we would decide
individually whether the coprorate copyright is OK for a given
patch based on some vague and personal judgement of the nature
of the patch? It sound like that to me. But I think that this is
not really practicable. I think we need a clear rule which
we can adhere to.

It is also not clear to me what the benefit of such a change
in policy would be. If you want to basically only accept
corporate copyrighted patches when they dont exceed a certain
level of impact, then I don't see that this is necessary at all.

Maybe I don't understand the meaning of the copyright of
a patch. In Samba, to my understanding, a person holds a
copyright on a file if she/he has made contributions on that
file which exceed a certain size, so that she/he is added to the
copyright/license boilerplate comment. (I was not aware that
we track indiviual possibly tiny patches as well.) And what you
proposed seems to imply that you'd like to not use corporate
copyright on changes this big anyways. So maybe you can clarify
this, so that I can understand the point.

So modulo explanations that can clarify my confusions, I do
rather dislike this proposal, the main reason being that the
criteria for decision are so vague. But I also don't see the
benefit. Has the present policy prevented major contributions
in the past? And if so, would we accept major contributions
under corporate copyright or just the odd buildfix patch that
could also be donated to a team member or the SFC?

Cheers - Michael

> I already raised this with tridge, who told me that he
> had been meaning to raise the very same issue with me
> (just one more proof that great minds think alike :-),
> so I promised to write this email to propose it to the
> lists in general.
> Please comment and let us know what you think about
> this possibility. Samba Team members get to vote, but
> we'd be really interested in hearing from all Samba
> users to understand if this is something the community
> thinks is a good idea or not.
> Cheers,
> 	Jeremy.

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 206 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://lists.samba.org/pipermail/samba/attachments/20110721/79cc4d13/attachment.pgp>

More information about the samba mailing list