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Re: Why not contribute? (to GCC)


Chris Lattner <clattner@apple.com> writes:

> The key distinction is that contributing to LLVM does not require
> you to sign a form (which isn't even publicly available) and mail it
> in to a busy and high-latency organization before non-trivial
> patches will be accepted.

For the record (Chris probably knows this), the exact copyright forms
are no longer posted online because in practice it often slowed down
the copyright assignment process.  Contributors routinely downloaded
the wrong form and arranged to have it signed by their employer.  When
the FSF received the wrong form, they had to request a different form,
and the contributors had to go through the signing process again.

That is, the forms are not publically available not because they are
secret, but to avoid confusion because international law is
unavoidably complex.  This fear of confusion is based not on
hypothesis, but on actual experience.

Instead, the process is to fill out a "request for assignment"
form--those forms are publically available--and the FSF will send you
the correct form.  For most contributors, the correct "request for
assignment" form may be found here:

http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/gnulib.git/tree/doc/Copyright/request-assign.future


I agree that this is all far more complex and time consuming than it
ought to be.  I hope that the SC can work with the FSF to simplify the
process.  However, the legalities are there for a reason, as seen by
the copyright challenge from Unipress long ago and the SCO lawsuit
against the Linux kernel.  Apple and the University of Illinois are
taking a risk by permitting patches without any paperwork.  It's a low
probability risk, but it's one that the FSF wants to avoid based on
actual past experience.

Ian


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