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Re: directions in Fedora desktop project

On Wed, 2006-11-29 at 17:17 +0100, Thilo Pfennig wrote:

> What does that mean? The experience was that because there was no CLA
> the users had full copyrights. Now if people contribute under CLA&OPL
> Red Hat can relicense this stuff, because they not only have the content
> licensed under OPL, but they also do have the full copy right. So they
> can relicense under different free licenses or do what they want with it.

Without the CLA, there is no guarantee that a user will not subsequently
attempt to revoke Fedora's permission to use their contribution.  This
may or may not work in court, but it's certainly been tried elsewhere
(cough, SCO) and it's a hassle we don't really feel like dealing with.

The CLA is a very small contract to ensure that the contribution to free
software is non-revokable, and that the contributor actually has the
right to contribute the things they contribute.

As for your other assertion:

> I understand that the CLA has no effect on what I can do with my
> contributions, but it has a great effect on what others can do with my
> works. Everybody can take the content in the wiki and use iot by that
> license, but Fedora and Red Hat can take the content and make it
> proprietary.

No.  We.  Can't.

Grant of license does _not_ mean assignment of copyright.  Microsoft
grants you a copyright license to use Vista in exchange for some
quantity of currency; they do not give you ownership of the code.  The
parallel here should be obvious.

> What then would you see is the main purpose of the CLA and why do you
> think it is now not enough to publish my content under a free license?
> What's next? The kernel developers sign a CLA to Linus Torvalds so he
> can republish the kernel under whatever conditions he thinks are good?

The irony here is that the kernel has a corresponding mechanism to
Fedora's CLA.  It's called Signed-Off-By: and it accompanies _every_
changeset.  Fedora just does it once up front.

- ajax

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