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Re: Future code ownership

Frank Ch. Eigler wrote:
bartv wrote:

[...] if we are going to bother with copyright
assignments at all then we might as well do it properly.

I'm still being misunderstood.  My point is that you might find a way
to go *without* formal copyright assignments to a central organization,
and still be relatively safe from corporate copyrights.
"relatively"? It's the "relatively" that's the problem. I agree that 99% of the time there's no problem. It's the magnitude of the problems that the 1% cause that give us reason to hesitate.

The FSF has
defined certain procedures which it considers necessary, and it has
some very good legal advisors.

Yes, whatever they have makes sense to them for their assignment-based
scheme, and there has been little "competition" to discourage excessive
barriers to contribution.
But it's their legal advisors that say it's not excessive to use an assignment-based scheme! It's the only way to be legally sure about ownership.

Remember it's not just ass covering for the project as a whole. *We* can revert a patch if need be. It's ass covering for *all* users out there, because if they download something that shouldn't have had some bits included, they could be up shit creek. We have a responsibility to protect them. *Our* life would be easy because there is indeed little more we can do than put out an announcement to tell people they shouldn't use such and such versions of eCos, and CVS between such and such dates.

But it could create dire problems for people out there who just don't find out, and maybe ship a hardware product running eCos, and due to the GPL it will be easy to find out if it contained a "bad" patch, after which the copyright owner could see it and sue.

It would be easier if eCos was only shipped by itself as software, like GCC, GDB, SourceNav, SID etc. Recalling hardware on the other hand...

And the whole fact that this _can_ arise will scare off many companies. They just won't take the risk, and we've lost potential eCos users. I've definitely heard that said about the Linux kernel. Our commercial competitors could certainly use it as FUD ammunition.

Maybe despite all this we should drop the assignment requirements anyway. But I want to make sure everyone has their eyes opened to what it could mean.

Jifl - with a nasty cold so apologies if anything above is gibberish
eCosCentric <>
--[ "You can complain because roses have thorns, or you ]--
--[ can rejoice because thorns have roses." -Lincoln ]-- Opinions==mine

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