On Fri, 2012-02-24 at 18:18 -0800, Steve Langasek wrote: > On Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 07:58:21PM +0000, Ben Hutchings wrote: > > > Also, 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 that, oddly, more people think > > > Canonical is evil than think the FSF and ASF are evil. > > > It's not so much a question of 'is upstream evil' (if so, why are we > > packaging this software?) but 'could upstream turn evil'. I'm far > > from agreeing with the FSF on many issues, and I don't really believe > > in the value of copyright assignment. But I also recognise that the > > FSF is bound by its non-profit status and broad membership in ways > > that a for-profit company like Canonical is not. > > I can well understand why some Free Software developers would decide not to > contribute to a project that requires copyright assignment or a copyright > license agreement such as this one. But it would be historical revisionism > to suggest that having copyright held by a single company makes a project > unsuitable to be used as the basis for work in Debian. Well I don't consider it a blocker either. However, it is something I and probably others in the project dislike and I don't believe it is conducive to growing a wider developer community. [...] >  Examples: MySQL as the "default" database for lots of projects; > Sleepycat/BDB as the backend for plenty of software, sometimes chosen over > GDBM; Qt; fox of ice and fire; and probably countless others that don't come > to mind because nobody really seemed to give this a whole lot of thought > until it was Canonical's name on the copyright statement... Mozilla is now a non-profit and does not require copyright assignment or CLA. Of the others, I've never got the impression that they're actively soliciting contributions from outside the company, though I could be wrong. I think free software developers rarely quibble over licences if they're contributing little bug fixes, whereas they're more likely to feel they deserve some kind of ownership stake if they're adding a big piece. A port to kFreeBSD might seem to be the latter, though I've no idea how large a change it would really require. So, why do people pick on Canonical? Partly, I think, as a reaction to Mark Shuttleworth's repeated arguing for copyright assignment/CLA/ Harmony. Partly because Canonical often presents Ubuntu and related software as being community projects while this licencing approach can be seen to undermine that. Ben. -- Ben Hutchings If at first you don't succeed, you're doing about average.
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