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Re: Way forward with FSF

Jonathan Larmour said:
> Us guys at eCosCentric have been thinking a little about ways to move
> forward with the FSF. I have just prodded the FSF again, in a slightly
> more forceful way. I can imagine the SCO stuff is taking up their time
> which won't help.
> At the same time, there seems to be evidence that RH are sitting on
> assignments, although one has just come through just now. How many others
> are affected? I seem to recall at least one.
> A compromise has been suggested that won't cause problems with the FSF
> later, but will make us more independent of RH (which as we know stops
> some people from contributing). However it needs the buy-in from everyone,
> naturally.
> The idea is that instead of assigning to RH, contributors could assign
> direct to individual maintainers. When the FSF is sorted out, the
> individual maintainer(s) will assign everything at that point to the FSF.
> Another possibility is to assign to eCosCentric, and eCosCentric would
> make a public commitment to assign to the FSF immediately once everything
> is going. That might be easier logistically, but I can understand it if
> others here are hesitant about this. But the public commitment may address
> this.
> Certainly of the eCosCentric maintainers (me, Bart, Nick, John), we are
> able to at least offer eCosCentric's facilities: mail, phone, fax, etc.
> and are prepared to deal with the admin overhead of doing so. If this
> becomes new policy we'll want new assignments from existing contributors
> so there'll be quite a few to deal with, at least at first.
> To be clear, this isn't an attempt to take over :-). All your eCos do not
> belong to us :).  As such, if any other maintainer wants to accept
> assignments (and put up their mail, phone, fax details on the web, mail
> back executed assignment, etc.etc.) then we can easily list more than one
> option to contact on the website. Although in that case, if someone opts
> for that option, they should take care they do not have something in their
> own employment contract that will mean all the IP assigned to them goes to
> their employer! Mark and Andrew would probably be affected by this.
> Also, in the case of Andrew, it would probably be advisable to explicitly
> write to RH legal to "cancel" your assignment. For Mark, I guess until the
> FSF arrangement is set up, its probably least problematic to continue
> allowing RH copyright contributions.
> Or if people aren't happy with this suggestion, we can just maintain the
> status quo until the FSF is sorted out. We're just looking for a
> constructive way forward. If people want to just wait until the FSF
> resolved since, of course, it should be Real Soon Now, then it may not be
> worth the effort putting this temporary compromise in place. I would like
> to hope this would be the case, but also want to cut our losses.
> Thoughts?

Since there doesn't seem to be any timetable for the FSF to move, I think
it behooves us to go ahead with this plan(*).  I am OK with eCosCentric being
the center point (I'm like Andrew and don't have the inclination or resources
to take this on).

(*) Right now, I think the community thinks of this as a major stumble and
that our current approach of waiting for the FSF is growing stale.  At least
this way, it'll look like we are interested in the integrity of the codebase
while still accepting new work (and the RH assignment is surely an impediment
for some contributors).  When this is announced, it must be made very clear
that it is an interim solution, chosen only to keep the project/codebase
alive while waiting for the FSF.

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