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Re: Seeking input from developers: glibc copyright assignment policy.

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Seeking input from developers: glibc copyright assignment policy.
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2021 14:31:25 +0300

> From: Paul Smith <psmith@gnu.org>
> Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2021 12:32:35 -0400
> On Tue, 2021-06-15 at 07:03 -0500, Eric Blake wrote:
> > I recall how long it took for me to get permission to sign assignment
> > papers from my previous employer, for work I was doing in my spare
> > time, and being able to use the DCO instead would have made my
> > efforts easier at that time.
> This is what concerns me (not necessarily in Eric's case per se but in
> general).  I worry that people think that a DCO is a hassle-free
> replacement for an employer's copyright assignment.  Maybe, in some
> jurisdictions, it even can be.

In addition to what Paul Smith and Bruno Haible wrote, there is IMO
one other important aspect to be considered, which is specific to
Gnulib.  Unlike GCC, glibc, and many other projects, which are
basically separate, and therefore their decisions in this matter
affect only them and their users, Gnulib is different.  Gnulib is not
a separate project, it is in effect a collection of library functions
from which dozens of other GNU projects borrow code for their
distributions.  Thus, any changes in this matter that Gnulib
developers decide upon will affect all those "client" projects as

For example, Emacs imports more than 200 source files from Gnulib, and
distributes them as part of its release tarballs and in its Git
repository.  If Gnulib folks decide that they can accept contributions
under DCO, does it mean Emacs will be unable to change its license to
GPL of version greater than 3?  Does it mean Emacs will bear part of
the risk of distributing sources whose DCO is invalid (for reasons
described by Paul Smith)?  (And it doesn't help that some/much of the
Gnulib code is taken from glibc, which will probably decide to follow
GCC's example.)

Given these aspects, I submit that Gnulib developers shouldn't make
these kinds of decisions without consulting with other GNU projects.

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