[Incubator] Commiter Legal Guidelines

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Wed Nov 1 16:01:14 EST 2006

Frank - looks ok to me (from a non-legal point of view).

I'm loath to bring up the next suggestion as I think throwing another 
idea at a maxed out community is just going to slow us down, but I can't 
help myself.

But I've noticed that each project is developing its own Software 
Developer Guidelines. It would help if we had one Polished set of 
guidelines which we all refered to, possibly with a few local caveats.

Frank Warmerdam wrote:
> Folks,
> I promised at the last meeting to draft a potential template text
> for legal guidelines to commiters on OSGeo projects.  Something that
> could be included in commiter guidelines for the different projects.
> I wrote up the following, found in the "Legal" section of the recently
> adopted GDAL/OGR commiter guidelines.
>   http://www.gdal.org/rfc3_commiters.html
> I'd appreciate some feedback.  If folks feel they are adequate I will
> term them into a template - parameterizing the project name and license.
> -- 
> Commiters are the front line gatekeepers to keep the code base clear of
> improperly contributed code.  It is important to the GDAL/OGR users,
> developers and the OSGeo foundation to avoid contributing any code to
> the project without it being clearly licensed under the project license.
> Generally speaking the key issues are that those providing code to be
> included in the repository understand that the code will be released under
> the MIT/X license, and that the person providing the code has the right
> to contribute the code.  For the commiter themselves understanding about
> the license is hopefully clear.  For other contributors, the commiter
> should verify the understanding unless the commiter is very comfortable 
> that
> the contributor understands the license (for instance frequent 
> contributors).
> If the contribution was developed on behalf of an employer (on work
> time, as part of a work project, etc) then it is important that an 
> appropriate
> representative of the employer understand that the code will be contributed
> under the MIT/X license.  The arrangement should be cleared with an 
> authorized
> supervisor/manager, etc.
> The code should be developed by the contributor, or the code should be
> from a source which can be rightfully contributed such as from the public
> domain, or from an open source project under a compatible license.
> All unusual situations need to be discussed and/or documented.
> Commiters should adhere to the following guidelines, and may be personally
> legally liable for improperly contributing code to the source repository:
> <ul>
> <li> Make sure the contributor (and possibly employer) is aware of the
> contribution terms.
> <li> Code coming from a source other than the contributor (such as adapted
> from another project) should be clearly marked as to the original source,
> copyright holders, license terms and so forth.  This information can be in
> the file headers, but should also be added to the project licensing file
> if not exactly matching normal project licensing (gdal/LICENSE.txt).
> <li> Existing copyright headers and license text should never be stripped
> from a file.  If a copyright holder wishes to give up copyright they
> must do so in writing to the foundation before copyright messages are 
> removed.
> If license terms are changed it has to be by agreement (written in email 
> is ok)
> of the copyright holders.
> <li> When substantial contributions are added to a file (such as 
> substantial
> patches) the author/contributor should be added to the list of copyright
> holders for the file.
> <li> If there is uncertainty about whether a change it proper to contribute
> to the code base, please seek more information from the project steering
> committee, or the foundation legal counsel.
> </ul>
> Best regards,

Cameron Shorter

More information about the Incubator mailing list