Starting a new Open Source Project

David Johnson david at
Mon Nov 4 02:24:09 UTC 2002

Myself and a few other people are in the planning stages for a new Open Source 
project, tentatively called "Ogham". This will be crossplatform and most team 
members are Windows guys. I am the only member with any Open Source 
development experience. We are tentatively leaning towards Qt as a toolkit 
and BSD as a license.

Or immediate problem, among others, is how to copyright the software. There 
are three basic ways to go as we see it:

1) Each author retains copyright for their non-trivial contribution. Since we 
will probably use the BSD license, this does not create a huge problem. But 
would the package as-a-whole need a distinct copyright holder? Would a 
generic "Ogham Development Team" suffice, or is something much more formal 

2) Once person is copyright holder, and everyone else needs to assign 
contributions to him or her. This is what GNU does. One problem with this is 
deciding who gets to be the copyright holder. Another problem is the 
administrative hassle of assigning the copyrights over. We want to make 
contributing as painless as possible.

3) Create an umbrella group to hold the copyright. Does this need to be a 
formal foundation or non-profit? Do contributions still need their copyrights 
assigned over, or could the group act as the "compiler" of the compilation?

I've done a quick survey of some OSS projects, and their all either seem to 
the second since they were initially started by a single individual, or the 
third since they grew considerably in size.

Thanks in advance,

David Johnson
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