Subject: Re: Open Source and Government agencies
From: "Mark Rauterkus" <mrauterkus@SportSurf.Net>
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 16:18:18 -0500

Hi Tim and others,

Tim asked...
> Thanks for all the thoughts, which I'll pass along.  (Also, does anyone
> have a problem with me posting your various responses on our web site?
> The question came in to "Ask Tim" and since you guys have all made so
> much more of this than I would have, I'd rather just quote you all than
> try to digest what you said...).

No problem here. Go for it. Be fair as you can, as expected. Make the quotes
as accurate as possible. Have a nice day. =;0

... followup question,

>> What happens to GPL (and other OS licenses) if a government employee
>> patches or contributes to an OS project?  Is the new patch or contribution
>> UN-Licensable?, thus potentially only portions of the project are under
>> GPL.  I am sure that you can see how the issue can continue to get more
>> complex than this.
>
> That is, given that government software is PD, does a government
> contribution to a GPL'd project inherit the PD aspects of the government
> work, or the GPL'd quality of the project to which it is contributed?

Both.

Author (Gov. Employee) makes some patch (contribution) to a GPLed endeavor.
Then, the Gov. Employee releases the contributions into the PD. Plus, the
code can also be released into the GPLed endeavor too.

My hunch is that anyone, either the original author of the contribution or
otherwise, could grab a copy of the PD patch and insert it into the GPLed
project. The PD patch remains in the PD even after it goes elsewhere. From
its PD state, it can go in multiple directions with various licenses.

The PD release in my way of thinking acts much like a "cleansing." Dunk the
code (new contributions) into the PD pool -- and then plunk the code
elements from the PD pool into larger works with various licenses at will.

Reactions and clarifications welcomed. I'm NOT a lawyer.


Mark Rauterkus
Mark@SportSurf.Net