Subject: Code acceptance policies/contracts?
From: "Karsten M. Self" <kmself@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 08:38:18 +0000

I'm interested in knowing what kinds of code acceptance policies
existing FSBs have, particularly if they're based on older licenses such
as GPL and BSD which don't have patent and trademark specific language
(unlike, say, MozPL, the IBM PSL, and the Apple license).

Do people tend to include any of the following conditions in code
acceptance terms:

 - Grant of patents embodied in contributed code and/or original code.
 - Agreement to license contributed code under terms of original work.
 - Any other grant of rights, acceptance of terms, or other legal
   mechanisms.


I'm in the process of identifying potential risks associated with free
software releases, and potential mitigating mechanisms.

By way of example, FSF requires assignment of copyright for code
submissions to GNU projects.  I believe Cygnus has a similar policy.  By
contrast, AFAIK, Linus has no such policy for the Linux kernel (though
Linus isn't an FSB), and the last time I asked, Sendmail hadn't set up a
policy for dealing with copyright assignment or grant of rights (as of
Eric Allman's presentation to SVLUG about a year ago).

If anyone wants to extend this into a general discussion of risks and
mitigations, you're more than welcome to.  I realize that code
acceptance policy only addresses one small portion of the potential
risks, though I feel it's both significant enough and sufficiently
straightforward to address that it warrants the effort.

TIA.

-- 
Karsten M. Self (kmself@ix.netcom.com)
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

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