Subject: Open Source and Contributor Agreements
From: David Barrett <>
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 21:36:14 -0800

Still seeking closure on this.  Can anyone confirm or deny the following 

- Open source has an unstated principle that all contributors are equal; 
nobody has any greater or lesser rights to the source than anyone else 
(copyright excluded).

- Groups who maintain a branch of an open project but restrict "commit" 
privileges to those who grant extra rights that group -- even with the 
best intentions -- are fundamentally subverting the openness of the 

- This anti-open practice is grudgingly tolerated due to its prevalance 
among some of the most respected, influential, and long-lived open 
source projects.

- However, this tolerance is contigent upon the contributor agreement 
being cumbersome, thereby ensuring nobody accidentally trades away 
rights that a "true" open source project withholds.

- Because an opt-out contributor agreement integrated into the license 
is too easy, it's too likely to cause people to accidentally give rights 
to the maintainer, and thus too anti-open to be approved by the OSI.

Is this accurate?