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Breaking the even playing field through CLAs (was: upstart: please update to latest upstream version)

Lars Wirzenius <liw@liw.fi> writes:

> I see the following as a serious issue: upstart requires contributors
> to sign the Canonical contributor agreement
> (http://www.canonical.com/contributors).

This is unlike most free-software projects, where “inbound = outbound”
<URL:http://opensource.com/law/11/7/trouble-harmony-part-1> is the
(often unstated) rule and all parties in the project are equal with
regard to licensing.

Instead, Canonical requires a contributor agreement (whose terms I can't
even read <URL:https://forms.canonical.com/contributor/>, because it
petulantly requires a site account at Launchpad) that grants Canonical
alone special privilege in the code.

Peter Samuelson <peter@p12n.org> writes:

> the only practical way this differs from the situation with software
> from either the Free Software Foundation or the Apache Software
> Foundation seems to be

Yes, all of those grant special privilege – the special right to
distribute the code under different license – to one party at the
expense of individual contributors. They make an uneven playing field.
Meet me for a beer and we can talk about my opinion on the FSF and ASF
contributor requirements, but those aren't at issue here.

There are significant differences with the “Harmony”-brand agreement
Canonical requires, and those differences make it particularly
problematic. See an informative article by Bradley Kuhn
<URL:http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2011/07/07/harmony-harmful.html>, which
has links to other opinions at the end.

> that, oddly, more people think Canonical is evil than think the FSF
> and ASF are evil.

Please don't attempt to dismiss people's opinions with such rhetoric. If
you want to know why people reject Canonical's requirements, it doesn't
help the discussion to paint their concerns as ludicrous extremes.

 \         “I was gratified to be able to answer promptly and I did. I |
  `\       said I didn't know.” —Mark Twain, _Life on the Mississippi_ |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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