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Re: Debian Roadmap

On Thu, Nov 20, 2003 at 11:54:22PM -0500, Noah L. Meyerhans wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 20, 2003 at 10:50:59PM -0600, John Hasler wrote:
> > > I was always under the impression my employer owned every idea I had...
> > 
> > Only if you signed a contract to that effect (and in many jurisdictions not
> > then).
> And in Bdale's case, where his official title at HP is "Linux CTO" and
> they funded lots of Debian related activities for him while he was
> project leader (and they probably still do), I think he's probably on
> pretty solid ground.  8^)
> noah

Yeah, he's covered, but...

There's two comparisons to make: Open Source is like the Red Cross 
or the United Way, or Open Source is like the IEEE, ICann, or W3C.

It is perfectly normal for a corporation to make contributions to 
either.  But in either case, I would think the employer could be sued 
over the employee's contribution.  And you'd need to report all actions 
to the organizations as a separate line item to the FTC (you know, 
proper transparency laws...)

In all cases I think the HP guy is covered, except for the "HP can be 
sued" department.  (I'm sure he and the lawyers have had a discussion.)  

I'm sure there are precedents in the corporate+non-profit and 
corporate+professional society that apply here.  Has HP signed a 
contract with the Debian non-profit?  Is it transparent?

(I'm playing devil's advocate.  This feels like an untested area of 
law.  And most speculations -- mine included -- sound like wishful 

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