Fabian.Bastin at cerfacs.fr
Thu Apr 14 09:23:42 UTC 2005
Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> X-FUNDP-MailScanner-Information: Please contact the ISP for more
> X-imss-version: 2.19
> X-imss-result: Passed
> X-imss-scores: Clean:99.90000 C:2 M:3 S:5 R:5
> X-imss-settings: Baseline:3 C:2 M:2 S:2 R:2 (0.0500 0.0500)
> Doesn't the FSF require copyright assignment for contributions to
> GNU-owned works, giving them the scary possibility of relicensing
> under other licenses? No one seems to mind that "asymmetry".
> Are we really all out of other windmills to tilt against?
The FSF justifies its position at this page:
You can be agree or not with their position. If not, just do not
contribute directly to their project, or make a fork ;-)
IMHO, such a copyright assignement requirement is not directly related
to the GPL; you could ask this for any open-source project, but you then
face the threat of forking if some contributors are not agree with this.
A famous case is the emacs/xemacs fork:
Other interesting examples are presented in the page proposed on this
list by Rick Moean (thanks for it... I was not aware about this page).
You can also reuse part of GNU projects code in independant project, as
soon as you use the GPL, so the asymmetry is not too large. The main
issue with copyright assignement is that only the copyright holder has
the right to change the license (except is a clause is defined in the
license to allow changes), but I would not fear that the FSF produce a
proprietary version of GNU projects ;-) And even if they do, you can
still use the previous code version and start a fork from it (just think
about the xfree x.org case, where the license was not GPL). I therefore
think that copyright asymmetry increases in fact the possibility of fork...
You can also develop your code, use it with your own copyright, and then
include it in a GNU project under the FSF copyright, while still using
it with your name and/or other licenses in other softwares. I am not a
specialist in copyright regulations, so please be free to correct me if
I personnally consider that the main asymmetry of the GPL and GNU
projects comes from the strong copyleft, that assumes that simply
linking with GPL code produces a derivative work (while this issue is
disputed amongst lawyers), since that raises a lot of licence
compatibility issues. But this is not the same issue as the copyright
More information about the License-discuss