Subject: OpenSales' developers' agreement
From: Mike Olson <>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 23:05:11 -0400

Were I developing code for OpenSales, I wouldn't sign this.  The
key missing element is a disclaimer of the developer's warranties
and a limitation on the developer's liabilities to OpenSales or any
third party for the contributed code.

As written, the agreement denies developers the right to sue OpenSales,
but leaves the door open to OpenSales *and its customers* to sue the
developer for breach of implied warranty or anything else they can
think of.  That's a pretty big risk for code you're getting for

It's a common failure of these kind of assignment agreements that
they leave the developer exposed.  That used not to be such a big
deal (most individuals are judgment-proof), but there are some
engineers out there with pretty deep pockets these days.

Whether or not these broad disclaimers are good for the consumer is
another topic entirely, but if OpenSales is protecting itself with
them, it should also put them in the agreement to protect its
developers individually.

Also, the agreement you posted asks developers to promise, forever,
that they don't want any payment for the code.  That's a pretty
big representation, and I don't think you need it.  There are Open
Source developers (Eric Allman of Sendmail comes to mind) who'd
be in a bad way if they'd signed something like this ten years ago.
All you care about is that the developer grants you the right to
distribute the contributed code under the GPL.  Why ask for more?