Freeing my code... need some guidance

Simon turner25 at
Sun Jan 11 15:54:51 UTC 2009

Sorry to have misled you, but you bring good ideas... discussed below.

As said in my first reply to Ben Tilly, my code should be licensed _BEFORE_ it 
reaches my employer, it is currently my private, closed source, personal work 
for which I have all rights.

Matthew Flaschen wrote:
> Ben Tilly wrote:
>> You don't get to dictate or bind them in any way, shape or form.  You
>> have no ownership of that code you wrote.  *Perhaps* you can convince
>> them to do what you want, but I wouldn't count on it.  Please don't
>> try to ignore this fact because if you do then you can get yourself
>> into pretty serious trouble, very quickly.
> It's true Simon needs to clear things with his employer (they almost
> certainly own the code).  However, this  is hardly impossible.  You can
> mention some of the major companies that contribute to FOSS (IBM,
> Oracle, Red Hat, Sun, even Microsoft).  Tell them the FOSS community
> will help maintain the code, while the company can still do what they
> like with it (which includes potentially not mentioning their name).
> And don't make /them/ figure out the licensing issues  Tell them "You
> should let me release this under BSD [or whatever you choose].  Here's why."

That is what I think.  As I mentioned in my reply to Ben Tilly, I would own 
version 1, and my employer could use it too.  But then the modifications done at 
work wont be usable "at home" (if i can say things like this).

Personally, I feel that if for some reason, I stop working there, the next 
derivative work they do based on my own should not be shared.  This is the basis 
of my thoughts.  I wish everyone to use it and recognized they based their work 
on my work, but they only contribute if they want to (say, someone can surely 
email me saying 'I have a patch to make such and such part lots more efficient', 
an I would publish it for everyone to benefit), but I don't want to force 
anybody for doing this.  This is the part in LGPL and GPL that I dislike most.

However, the work that _I_ do at work, or that is done _with_ me at work... 
this derivative should be shared...  basically, it's simple, I just don't feel 
like fixing bugs in double!  And the employer will clearly benefit from this 
because my home is the best development environment I have.  I own the computers 
and the network there, I can modify things anytime I want to make specific 
testings (say I want to test my core to work like a proxy, or implement 
load-balancing, say I want to make another program to attack it and try to 
cripple the network to see the behavior of my "core" under this stress).  My 
employer may not be able to provide such resources.  So, by giving back the code 
I develop at work, they benefit from extra testing and faster development since 
the work I do at home will also be given back to them.

I'm sure they can agree to this, and besides... i work there as a salesman, so I 
know how to bring all this.  But they still might have to sit and review the 
idea over, might have to send my proposal to their internal lawyer for 
verifications, etc...  It's a very very big company so I think that even for 
little details they wont take any chance.

>> There is no point wasting time thinking about what copyright license
>> you wish to put on code you don't have copyright to.
> I disagree.  Obviously, only the employer can make the final decision.
> However, if Simon has specific licenses in mind (and reasons for them)
> when he talks to The Boss, it will be more convincing then saying, "Hey,
> maybe you should let me use one of the 72 licenses at this site."

I think the main problem discussed here has to do with the feelings associated 
with property...  I have the words greed and exclusive in mind.  I dont think my 
employer, being a super large company, would ever consider the idea of releasing 
code they developed on their own (even if doing will benefit them)...  the 
non-IT administrator will see this as a flaw (i used to see it that way) and 
there is some truth in this.  HOWEVER, I was not talking about a code that they 
own but a code that _I_ own and wish to share.

Thanks a lot,

> Matt Flaschne

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