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From Costin Manolache <>
Subject Re: @author tag recommendation
Date Wed, 17 Mar 2004 07:32:37 GMT
To put things in a different perspective -

Software is written by people. We donate our work and time to ASF, but
I don't think that owning the copyright and all the rights on the code
gives ASF the right to remove the author names from their work.

As for the "legal" argument that is constantly used by ASF board to 
justify anything - if signing on the code I write exposes me to legal 
risks, I am willing to take them. There are plenty of open source 
projects where developers keep both attribution and copyright on their 
code. If ASF lawyers consider that non-anonymous code is threatening the 
foundation - perhaps it needs better lawyers.

Letting fear to drive an open source project is IMO a very bad management.


Dirk-Willem van Gulik wrote:
> On Mar 15, 2004, at 11:49 PM, Conor MacNeill wrote:
>> As a result, I would like to open a discussion on the ant-dev list to 
>> see the
>> impact of this change in policy, particularly on non-committers - i.e. 
>> the
>> people who make the odd, but important, contribution to the project, 
>> people
>> who may become stronger contributors in the longer term.
> (recycling an older cocoon post with some edits)
> One way to look at this is that @author tags are in a way factually
> 'wrong'; in most cases it just signals which person wrote the  first
> skeleton of that code; but subsequently it was fixes, peer-reviewed and
> looked at by a whole community. Also do not forget the many people in
> your community which help with QA, Documentation, user-feedback
> and so  on.
> To put  one person in the (hot) seat for what is essentially a  group 
> effort
> is perhaps not quite right.
> Secondly what we 'sell' as the ASF brand is a code base which is peer
> reviewed, quality controlled and created by a sustainable group which
> will survive the coming and going of volunteers. One where knowledge is
> generally shared and not just depended on one single individual. This
> is one of the key reasons why large companies, governments, etc have a
> lot less qualms about using apache than using most other open source;
> we mitigate  the worry that it depends on a single person, and can
> implode or fork without warning, right from the get-go.
> Finally - a lot of developers do live in countries where you can get
> sued. The ASF can provide a certain level of protection; but this is
> based on the KEY premisse that there is oversight and peer review. That
> what we ship is a _community_ product; and that everything is backed by
> the community and cannot be attributed to a single person. Every commit
> gets peer review; ever release requires +1s' and are backed by the
> community as a whole. @author tags are by necessity incomplete and thus
> portrait the situation inaccurately. Any hint or suggestion that parts
> of the code are not a community product makes defence more complex and
> expensive. We do not want to temp anyone - but rather present a clean
> picture with no blemishes or easy targets.
> And to give this a positive slant; be -proud- of this culture; be proud
> of being part of something larger of incredible  quality. Each of you
> did not just write a few pesky lines of code surrounded by an @author
> tag; but where instrumental in getting the -whole- thing work ! And if
> you are ever trying to understand why cocoon made it this far, and
> other commercial/open-source projects did not, then do look there;
> quality and a sense of long term stability.
> Now the above is not normative - it is just some background, some
> food for thought and sets a few boundaries[1]. However the ASF has
> many different communities - and each is responsible for their
> own code, their own working habits and their own slant on ASF
> culture. So if for example people here feel strongly that, say,
> people doing Docs, Translations, QA, release management or
> bug fixing  should be more celebrated then go for it !
> Take Care, Have fun,
> Dw
> 1:    One of the hard boundaries is (to repeat from above) that the
>     ASF release procedure is based on the KEY premisse that there
>     is oversight and peer review. That what we ship is a foundation 
> product; and
>     that everything is backed by the committers, that CLA or software
>     grants are on file, that every commit gets peer review; that releases
>      requires +1s' and are backed by a community process which
>     leaves a paper trail in CVS and on the archived mailing lists.

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