I’ve never felt like this is a very honest exchange. With MySQL you were handing over copyright to a company that was making money off your work. With the FSF I have always been bothered by Richard’s insistence that FSF has the right then to take that code and relicense it. His stance on dual licensing under commercial licenses is my issue with this.
The Open Stack contributor’s agreement is a bit different then much of what we have seen thus far. It basically states, and please keep in your mind firmly that I am not a lawyer, that you have the right to submit the code you are submitting. It states directly that you can do whatever you want in the future with the code you wrote.
It is not Apache specific. I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t be used with a GPL project as well.
It is worded such that the group that the code is contributed too couldn’t just take your code, and then hold the contribution hostage. By hostage I mean that the contribution would sit in a limbo where you couldn’t do anything with it, and would therefor be at the mercy of the new owner of the code publishing it.
The GPL, BSD, Apache, MIT, and other licenses where a watershed in their time. Lawyers learned the licenses, and each of these licenses have been “debugged”.
Every time a company sees a new license, or a new legal agreement, there is a huge bar that must be met before it can be signed.
If you are an engineer, think of lawyers as a picky c++ compiler. Some lawyers issue better warnings then others. Some organizations turn the compiler flag “all warnings to error” on. Other organizatiosn not only do this, but add they add in -Wextra for good measure.
We have software licenses, the OSI stamped out quite a few of these.
What is missing then?
- Agreements for developers who are on advisory boards.
- Contractor agreements that carve out open source projects such that they don’t become entangled with “work for hire”.
- Contribution agreements.
Where is the advantage in using it? We already have a long list of companies who signed it for Open Stack. It has been debugged, and a number of large companies are willing to sign it.