Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Linus Torvalds: Any CLA Is Fundamentally Broken

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the no-sir-I-don't-like-it dept.

Ubuntu 279

sfcrazy writes "The controversy over Canonical's Contributor License Agreement (CLA) has once again surfaced. While Matthew Garrett raises valid points about the flaws in Canonical's CLAs, Linus Torvalds says 'To be fair, people just like hating on Canonical. The FSF and Apache Foundation CLA's are pretty much equally broken. And they may not be broken because of any relicencing, but because the copyright assignment paperwork ends up basically killing the community. Basically, with a CLA, you don't get the kind of "long tail" that the kernel has of random drive-by patches. And since that's how lots of people try the waters, any CLA at all – changing the license or not – is fundamentally broken.'"

cancel ×

279 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Spell it out the first time (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 8 months ago | (#46019313)

Why doesn't the summary for articles like these spell out unfamiliar abbreviations such as "contributor license agreement"?

Re:Spell it out the first time (3)

DaKritter (158840) | about 8 months ago | (#46019343)

Thanks! And I could not agree more.

Re:Spell it out the first time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020071)

Because they hope your interest will fuel the very slightest bit of initiative, like the ~5 seconds it takes to Google it?

Just a guess, but it worked for me! No whinging here about such a trivial matter. I mean, if you are seeing this site anyway, you are definitely online...

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020103)

i dont bother with it anymore, if they are too stupid to know that people are not going to pick up whatever acronym buzzbullshit is in fad this month then I am not interested in reading the tripe that follows

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

thaylin (555395) | about 8 months ago | (#46020387)

Yea, if you google CLA you dont remotely get what it means in 5 seconds, maybe a few minutes after you get past the Certified Linux Admin and many others.

Re:Spell it out the first time (5, Funny)

haruchai (17472) | about 8 months ago | (#46020399)

I was wondering how much Linus knows about Conjugated Linoleic Acids.

Re:Spell it out the first time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019359)

SHHH! Shut up! Or Linux will hear you!

Re:Spell it out the first time (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019365)

I guess CLA clearly doesn't stand for "Clear and Labeled Acronym"...

Re:Spell it out the first time (3, Funny)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | about 8 months ago | (#46019503)

Cryptic Letter Algorithm?

Re:Spell it out the first time (4, Funny)

kesuki (321456) | about 8 months ago | (#46019689)

Complete
Loss
Altogether
google is worthless urban dictionary equally so, and it's not in the jargon file. this is classic slashdot, making up acronyms no one can figure out. wikipedia had the best page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CLA [wikipedia.org]
but i can't figure out how a command line argument is related.

Re:Spell it out the first time (5, Funny)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#46019367)

I'm pretty sure they were talking about Conjugated linoleic acid. After all, that is the number one hit in google.

Re:Spell it out the first time (4, Funny)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#46019397)

I was going for Chlamydia, Lupus and AIDS, and then I remembered that House has been finished for a while.

Re:Spell it out the first time (5, Funny)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46019745)

Chlamydia, Lupus and AIDS

What are "better things than Dice's editing", Alex?

Re:Spell it out the first time (2)

multimediavt (965608) | about 8 months ago | (#46020175)

Chlamydia, Lupus and AIDS

What are "better things than Dice's editing", Alex?

Ooo...Maybe we should get Watson to replace the /. editors? Brilliant!

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019777)

It would just be CA, because it's never lupus.

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020077)

It would just be CA, because it's never lupus.

HAH HAH! We both got the reference! We are like brothers, you and I. No longer are we isolated little Internet egos, disconnected from all of mankind. We understand what all those OTHERS do not. Therefore you absolutely MUST be modded up.

Re:Spell it out the first time (5, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 8 months ago | (#46019405)

Because the submitter doesn't know how to do it right, and the "editors" don't know how to do their job. What else do you expect from Slashdot?

Re:Spell it out the first time (5, Informative)

TWX (665546) | about 8 months ago | (#46019473)

Because the submitter doesn't know how to do it right, and the "editors" don't know how to do their job. What else do you expect from Slashdot?

I used to expect a lot more from Slashdot, but now that none of the old-guard are left it's steadily and inexorably slipping in the same fashion that kuro5hin, The Register, and other tech sites have slipped.

In case you didn't know, there are holding companies buying up forums, news sites, aggregators, etc. At this point half-a-dozen automotive forums that I've used are now under one company, and that company milks the forums for advertising revenue without really policing the forums for abuse anymore. Since those forums lack a community-policing method like Slashdot and a few others there's very little to stop the race to the bottom as suddenly off-topic discussions, especially politics, come to pollute the original purpose with garbage that has nothing to do with cars.

These companies often don't advertise that they're in charge of so many forums, but some like The HAMB do. I encourage people to leave forums that head down this route, it's the only way to let these companies know that we don't appreciate what they're doing. Unfortunately that's probably a losing battle as there are a lot more users to replace those that walk away.

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019571)

Ok so what's the alternative to slashdot?

Re:Spell it out the first time (2, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 8 months ago | (#46019645)

If you want news and articles, honestly Yahoo's News is not too bad. It's about the only thing going left under a Yahoo URL that's worth using, and I find it to be better than Google News.

And as sad as this is, there are lots of Youtube channels dedicated to geeky subjects that I sometimes learn things from before they appear on Slashdot or other sites.

For discussion, no idea what to say. It appears that you're stuck here.

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about 8 months ago | (#46019973)

And if Yahoo isn't for you, there is still always Usenet ;-)

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

plopez (54068) | about 8 months ago | (#46019805)

CIO and Datamation

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020013)

Reddit.

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020095)

Ok so what's the alternative to slashdot?

Arstechnica.com
At least half the stories here are taken from Ars or Wired, but Ars has a decent comment system unlike the mass of bullshit that Wired has devolved into.

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 8 months ago | (#46020269)

Submissions also contain lots of link-bait to Phoronix or the verge.

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 8 months ago | (#46019635)

Because the submitter doesn't know how to do it right, and the "editors" don't know how to do their job. What else do you expect from Slashdot?

I used to expect a lot more from Slashdot, but now that none of the old-guard are left it's steadily and inexorably slipping in the same fashion that kuro5hin, The Register, and other tech sites have slipped. In case you didn't know, there are holding companies buying up forums, news sites, aggregators, etc. At this point half-a-dozen automotive forums that I've used are now under one company, and that company milks the forums for advertising revenue without really policing the forums for abuse anymore. Since those forums lack a community-policing method like Slashdot and a few others there's very little to stop the race to the bottom as suddenly off-topic discussions, especially politics, come to pollute the original purpose with garbage that has nothing to do with cars. These companies often don't advertise that they're in charge of so many forums, but some like The HAMB do. I encourage people to leave forums that head down this route, it's the only way to let these companies know that we don't appreciate what they're doing. Unfortunately that's probably a losing battle as there are a lot more users to replace those that walk away.

It's true, DICE knows how to kill a website. Hopefully someone will create an alternative that garners an interesting audience someday.

Memories....

Re:Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020035)

Slashdot will may very well go bankrupt if they don't buy up the other tech sites...

Re:Spell it out the first time (5, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | about 8 months ago | (#46019787)

I used to expect a lot more from Slashdot, but now that none of the old-guard are left it's steadily and inexorably slipping in the same fashion that kuro5hin, The Register, and other tech sites have slipped.

The "old guard" editors didn't know how to do their jobs either. Note my user ID; I remember. I come here for the comments, not the articles.

Re:Spell it out the first time (4, Insightful)

synaptik (125) | about 8 months ago | (#46020227)

Yes; but back then it was because they were amateurs, doing this for a hobby.

Re:Spell it out the first time (5, Funny)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 8 months ago | (#46020283)

Seriously. I've been reading since 1999 (under different accounts) and trust me, the editing was definitely even worse back then. We used to have mis-spelled words, broken links, and sentences the cut off in the mi

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019897)

> I used to expect a lot more from Slashdot, but now that none of the old-guard are left it's steadily and inexorably slipping in the same fashion that kuro5hin

Dunno what you are on about... I remember people complaining about how /. had gone to shit... in 2002.

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020365)

Dunno what you are on about... I remember people complaining about how /. had gone to shit... in 2002.

Yeah but this time we mean it.

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020093)

golly, is it possible that The They (tm) absolutely realize their power is weakening as their media gatekeepers role of chokepoint of society becomes distributed and democratized across the inertnet tubes, and the propaganda model falters ? ? ?
gee, *why is* the gummint/military buying software which allows an operator to spoof hundreds of sockpuppets ? ? ? gee, i'm betting no private companies do that either...
gosh, do you think they could buy up popular forums where an online meeting of the minds takes place, understanding and tolerance appear spontaneously among tight-knit online communities, and potential breeding grounds for -*gasp*- sheeple organizing to the point of baring their fangs at Empire ? ? ?
hmmm, do you think the 85 zillionaires who 'own' half the world, could afford the chump change to buy out every two-bit website and media outlet in the world with a vibrant sense of community, and proceed to run it in the ground, and poison that ground to boot...
surely *that* couldn't be the case, could it ? ? ?

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#46020381)

there's very little to stop the race to the bottom as suddenly off-topic discussions, especially politics, come to pollute the original purpose with garbage that has nothing to do with cars.

Yeah, just like your horrible car analogy.

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019601)

Then maybe you should be either of the aforementioned people? Because you're so blatantly awesome at what you do.

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 8 months ago | (#46019695)

No. Because shitty editing drives traffic.

Re:Spell it out the first time (2)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 8 months ago | (#46019711)

It's not like it's ever been better. I don't think the editors have EVER read submissions. I mean seriously, complaining about that is like complaining that users don't read the article or the summary before commenting. It's always been like that, it always will, complaining about it wastes your time so don't bother.
And it's not like the editors read the comments either which makes the complaining totally pointless as well.

This is slashdot, there aren't editors (in the traditional sense), no one reads the articles and everyone has an opinion regardless. If you know and understand that, the time wasted on here will be better spent.

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019833)

One of the slashboxes I have on the front page is "this day on slashdot" which has 5 popular slashdot stories going back several years. People back in 2003 were rnaking the exact same complaints of the place going downhill way back then. Sarne cornplaints about the editors sucking. Sarne cornplaints about the stories not being "news for nerds". Sarne cornplaints about the shitty cornrnents...

The place has changed but the cornplaints have stayed the sarne.

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020359)

What else do you expect from Slashdot?

The same article republished next week, only with more typos and broken links.

Re:Spell it out the first time (2)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 8 months ago | (#46019417)

Glad I'm not the only one who hadn't heard that one. I Googled it ASAP and got a page full of "Conjugated Linoleic Acid". Then, I went to TFA (Teach For America) and found the TLA (Title-Leading Acronym) PDQ.

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019419)

In the future, why not just replace your post with the universally-understood acronym "SIOTFT"? You could save a lot of wear and tear on your keyboard, not to mention that you could use the time you save to raise money for cancer research.

Re:Spell it out the first time (5, Informative)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about 8 months ago | (#46019423)

Or mention the problem people have with the Canonical CLA in the first place, which according to TFA is the requirement that contributers sign an agreement that gives Canonical the right to relicense their contribution under a proprietary licence.

As can ANY of the major CLAs... (5, Interesting)

trims (10010) | about 8 months ago | (#46019755)

Take a look at pretty much any major CLA out there.

I'll name three big ones: OpenJDK, FSF's for GNU, and Apache's.

ALL of them either directly assign the copyright of the contribution to the org, and thus, you lose any ability to control it whatsoever, or give the org the ability to relicense it explicitly.

This is intentional, and a GOOD thing, because it increases the flexibility of the project, including making it easier to defend rights in court. Frankly, have a project with multiple copyright assignment is impossible to manage from a legal standpoint, let alone one where you don't even know the real identity of a contribution's author.

The Linux kernel is stuck on the GNU v2 license for exactly this reason, and can never change. That's the fate of any such non-CLA'd Open Source project (other than something using Public Domain or the BSD license).

FYI: the FSF can (and has) relicensed code contributed to GNU projects under a proprietary license. (gcc and part of the toolchain)

Re:As can ANY of the major CLAs... (5, Informative)

ustolemyname (1301665) | about 8 months ago | (#46019895)

The Linux kernel is stuck on the GNU v2 license for exactly this reason, and can never change. That's the fate of any such non-CLA'd Open Source project (other than something using Public Domain or the BSD license).

Actually no, the Linux kernel is stuck on the GNU GPL v2 because Linus made that decision on purpose. The default GNU license allows for relicencing under any later version, but Linux removed that clause on purpose.

Here's his rant against GPLv3: https://lkml.org/lkml/2006/9/2... [lkml.org]

Re:Spell it out the first time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019519)

If you don't know what CLA means, then this article does not apply to you so you can move along.

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019555)

As the "editors" couldn't be bothered:

sfcrazy writes "The controversy over Canonical's Contributor License Agreement (CLA) has once again surfaced. (Ed: Insert link to previous story) While Matthew Garrett raises valid points about the flaws in Canonical's CLAs, Linus Torvalds says 'To be fair, people just like hating on Canonical. The Free Software Foundation and Apache Foundation CLA's are pretty much equally broken. They may not be broken because of any relicencing but because the copyright assignment paperwork ends up killing the community. With a CLA, you don't get the kind of "long tail" that the kernel has, of random drive-by patches. Since that's how lots of people try the waters, any CLA at all â" changing the license or not â" is fundamentally broken.'"

I fixed some of Linus's grammar while I was at it. Quote or not that was awful.

Re:Spell it out the first time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019577)

Yes. Absolutely crappy summary. If submitters can't be bothered explaining what they're talking about, reject their submission.

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

rgmoore (133276) | about 8 months ago | (#46019587)

Forget it Jake. It's Slashdot.

Re:Spell it out the first time (2)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 8 months ago | (#46019607)

Yeah, I was trying to figure out what's wrong with Command Line Arguments.

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 8 months ago | (#46019619)

Why doesn't the summary for articles like these spell out unfamiliar abbreviations such as "contributor license agreement"?

PSSH. Everyone knows this article is about the computer law association.

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 8 months ago | (#46019947)

Command Line Arguments. What you use when you can't use the Gooder User Interface (GUI) which is how computers were born to be.

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about 8 months ago | (#46020163)

Why doesn't the summary for articles like these spell out unfamiliar abbreviations such as "contributor license agreement"?

You were expecting journalism majors to be editors of /. ??? ROFLMFAO

Re:Spell it out the first time (1)

cluening (6626) | about 8 months ago | (#46020287)

I read this summary just so I could see how many times the obscure acronym was used without definition. It met my expectations!

CLA? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019329)

Canadian Lacrosse Association
Canadian Library Association
Caprivi Liberation Army
Carry Look-Ahead Adder
Causal layered analysis
Certified Legal Assistant
Cigarette Lighter Adapter
Civil Liberties Association
Communist League of America
Conjugated linoleic acid
Contributor License Agreement
Cuban Liberator Army

Re:CLA? (1)

TWX (665546) | about 8 months ago | (#46019489)

C*nt Lickers Anonymous?

(censored to hopefully avoid tripping various workplace filters)

Re:CLA? (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 8 months ago | (#46019681)

Who among us would want to remain anonymous? Especially on /.?

Full disclosure: we all know odds are I'm not one of us.

Re:CLA? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 8 months ago | (#46019881)

Canonical's Linux Attitude?

CLA? (-1, Redundant)

Attila the Bun (952109) | about 8 months ago | (#46019331)

Cleaning, Lubrication & Adjustment? Canadian Lacrosse Association? Carry Look-Ahead Adder? Certified Legal Assistant? Cigarette Lighter Adapter? College of Liberal Arts? Communist League of America? Cuban Liberator Army?

Somebody help me out here

Re:CLA? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 8 months ago | (#46019549)

Cleaning, Lubrication & Adjustment? Canadian Lacrosse Association? Carry Look-Ahead Adder? Certified Legal Assistant? Cigarette Lighter Adapter? College of Liberal Arts? Communist League of America? Cuban Liberator Army?

Somebody help me out here

Number one Google result -- actually most of the first page's sorth -- is "Conjugated Linoleic Acid". Some kind of bodybuilding supplement also sold as an anti-cancer agent.

Wikipedia says the health claims are bunk, so Linus is probably right to oppose it.

moms; there's no chance our dna code is broken (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019341)

the murderous neogod crown royals are experiMENTAL mutants serving the WMD on credit band of 85?

WTF... (0)

Brad Goodman (2906427) | about 8 months ago | (#46019363)

So what's a CLA. Why is there a "controversy" around it. Why does everyone hate Cononical.

As a techy and Linux geek - I think if I have to do research to understand a Slashdot article, it's either bad, or I've been reading Slashdot for too long.

Re:WTF... (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#46019415)

Next thing you know, they'll actually _make_ you RTFA...

Re:WTF... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019657)

The point of the summary is to provide enough information to let us decide whether we're interested enough in the subject to RTFA. When the summary is too vague people will rightfully complain, and if the response to the complaints is "RTFA" then it's pretty safe to assume that the article is clickbait.

In other words, you're not helping.

Re:WTF... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019445)

Well maybe you're just not that much of a "Linux geek" as you think you are -- using ubuntu doesn't automatically make you one.
A stronger indicator, however, is that you specifically call yourself a Linux geek. Your shell scripts probably all start with '!#/bin/bash', if you ever wrote one, and i bet you consider wayland and systemd the "way to go".

IOW, you're cancer to the unix world

Re:WTF... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019637)

Your shell scripts probably all start with '!#/bin/bash'

My shell scripts start with #!/bin/bash

And they do so because being POSIXly correct is overrated, you insensitive clod!

Re:WTF... (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 8 months ago | (#46019563)

Lack of trust.

This is what this is all about. Many people view Canonical as untrustwory for one reason or another. I could cite a whole litany. However, that's not the point.

Many people find reason to be suspicious of Canonical in a way that isn't comparable to anything regarding the FSF or Apache. It's not a remotely comparable situation.

As a general rule, CLAs originating from any corporation with the standard "fuck everyone else" style charter should be met with skepticism. They're not your friends. They probably aren't even your ally.

Re:WTF... (0)

djmurdoch (306849) | about 8 months ago | (#46019613)

Canonical vs the FSF is a matter of degree, it's not incomparable.

If the FSF didn't require copyright assignment, then most GNU stuff would still be GPL2 licensed, and that would make my life easier. Moglen says they need the copyright assignment in order to defend the copyright, but really it has mainly been used as a club to try to force people to switch to GPL3. It's about power, not about freedom.

CLA (5, Funny)

ZackSchil (560462) | about 8 months ago | (#46019369)

Yes of course, the CLA. I have long hated CLAs. CLAs are a problem and someone should do something about the CLAs.

Re:CLA (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 8 months ago | (#46019449)

CLA, CLA, CLA, CLAH.

CLA, CLA.

CLA CLA CLA.

After a while, if you say "CLA" enough, it begins to sound like it's not even really a word.

Oh, wait, it really isn't a word. Never mind.

Re:CLA (3, Funny)

aix tom (902140) | about 8 months ago | (#46019491)

CLAatu barada nikto.

'nuff said.

Re:CLA (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 8 months ago | (#46019585)

CLAs? I'm still angry about TLAs!

Re:CLA (0)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 8 months ago | (#46020197)

I can't beleive there are so many people on here that didn't immediatly know what a CLA was in this context. Its not the olden days. KIds and their lack of intimate knowledge on the state of the Linux world.

SIG_CHILD, Git off my systemd, before I Go upstart your head.

CLA? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019413)

Clean Lubed Ass?

I disagree... I love CLA if it's female!

Co-operation and Trust (3, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | about 8 months ago | (#46019439)

Free and Open source software are about working together to write software, its unquestionably good.

There are tens of billions of dollars worth of Libre code out there, with thousands of unpunished violators, and only 2 or 3 people in the world defending it.

And this "community" persistently rallies against working tegether Legally with CLA, i just dont understand, is it purely a trust thing ?

(And if you want to help defend Free Software, consider donating to the Software Freedom Conservency)

Re:Co-operation and Trust (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019583)

(And if you want to help defend Free Software, consider donating to the Software Freedom Conservency)

Do they also defend Stallman's freedom to conserve bathwater?

Re:Co-operation and Trust (0)

exomondo (1725132) | about 8 months ago | (#46019591)

I think it's more to do with adding additional layers of legal crap to free software making contributions to and use of such products overly convoluted. That said I do agree with you that to keep it free the community needs to be united and come to terms with the reality of the society they exist in: it would be nice if everybody worked together and nobody ever acted purely in self-interest but that's not going to happen.

Interesting that on a website that claims to be 'news for nerds' you need to scroll almost to the bottom of the comments to find something that isn't a "I don't know what CLA is, is it (any number of irrelevant or crude possible expansions of the acronym)?", that's pretty pathetic.

Re:Co-operation and Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019725)

Wow, you're so inexperienced that you don't know there's multiple common meanings to CLA in the software world? How about getting some experience kid before lashing out with your hateful attacks. Just because you're so clueless that you know one and only one meaning for the world doesn't mean the rest of the world is as limited as you.

It would have helped if the summary explained what type of CLA the article was about instead of leaving us having to guess. Instead, /. yet once again makes the comments to the story completely and utterly useless by forcing most of the posts to be questions about the misleading and incomplete summary.

Re:Co-operation and Trust (1, Troll)

exomondo (1725132) | about 8 months ago | (#46019799)

First sentence in the linked post "Contributor License Agreements ("CLAs") are a mechanism for an upstream software developer to insist that contributors grant the upstream developer some additional set of rights." Contrary to your assumption I in fact did not know what CLA stood for in this context, so simply clicked the link to find out.

Yes they could have put that in the summary but sadly had they done that it seems there would have been next to no comments here. I'm sorry if you found some part - feel free to point it out - of the post you found "hateful".

Re:Co-operation and Trust (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019829)

oh fuck off retard. people like you who dont have 2 braincells to rub together to find out what the acronym means are exactly why this website has gone to shit. more interested in bitching and complaining than constructively discussing the topic because god forbid every bit of information isnt handed to you on a platter and you might actually have to *use* that one braincell for cognitive reasoning.

What is a CLA? How would the kernel's tail be sho (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019451)

What is a CLA? How would the kernel's tail be shorter with a CLA when it is driving by?

Contributions NOT wanted (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | about 8 months ago | (#46019459)

The purpose of CLAs is to maintain the hegemony for the ruling clique; the very point of a CLA is to provide the entrenched bureaucrats with a publicly acceptable reason for shutting the door on those pesky newcomers.

Re:Contributions NOT wanted (1)

dbc (135354) | about 8 months ago | (#46019639)

Ummmm.... no. It's to provide a chain of provenance for all contributions that is defensible in court. Without that, it is often impractical to defend your code base against a legal attack.

Re:Contributions NOT wanted (0)

mfwitten (1906728) | about 8 months ago | (#46019875)

As I already said:

publicly acceptable reason for shutting the door on those pesky newcomers.

LGPL, MIT, BSD, etc (-1, Troll)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 8 months ago | (#46019461)

The only licences I like are LGPL, MIT, BSD, etc. So basically licenses that don't restrict me in any significant way. I don't like GPL and certainly wouldn't have anything to do with these CLAs.

What these bozos seem to forget is that while their software is free and they might fell all righteous in providing it, I don't have to either use it or contribute to their project. There are zillions of options, and zillions of projects that aren't trying to screw me if I contribute; I wonder which one that most people will end up choosing?

LGPL prohibits tivoization (1)

tepples (727027) | about 8 months ago | (#46019623)

http://news.slashdot.org/comme... [slashdot.org]

The only licences I like are LGPL, MIT, BSD, etc. So basically licenses that don't restrict me in any significant way.

What you say is true of MIT and BSD licenses as well as the GNU All-Permissive License. But LGPL is really just GPL with an exception allowing linking the covered work to a proprietary program in such a manner that the user can replace the covered work with a modified version. This permission is unacceptable on platforms that have a general policy not to execute code that the platform's gatekeeper has not approved or code that has been modified since the platform's gatekeeper has approved it. So you can't really use an LGPL library in an application for an iOS device, major game console, or major handheld game system unless you're the author of the entire library or unless you have a dual license, and the featured article is about opposition to giving the library's maintainer the option of granting such a dual license.

Re:LGPL prohibits tivoization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019857)

No, LGPL3 and GPL3 prevent tivoization. LGPL2.1 does not, but I would still prefer when it has a static linking clause. ... WTFPL or the unlicense are pretty close to public domain.

Re:LGPL, MIT, BSD, etc (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019647)

Actually, the GPL doesn't restrict _you_, the developer, in any significant way.

It's 2014 and people are still spreading FUD about this. For god's sake.

Re:LGPL, MIT, BSD, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019877)

I've written a piece of software, foo, that I'd like to open source. I'd like to let anyone customize it and/or use it in any way they want, whether commercially or not. I don't care if they contribute or tell me their changes, although that would be appreciated. All I care is that, if they make changes to the software, they no longer call it foo.* So basically I need to trademark foo.

This is where I'm stuck. I'd like the community to help me out with three things:

1. Mirror my software in multiple countries so that it can't be appropriated by the laws of a single nation gone rogue.

2. Help me out with the trademark.

3. A one or two pargraph sample text that basically says "this is open source, use it as you like, but if you change it in any way you can't market as foo anymore."

* Because if their undeclared changes introduce bugs it can damage foo's reputation and people may hold me responsible for bugs that I have no control over.

Acronyms (0)

marcadon (3506961) | about 8 months ago | (#46019465)

Acronyms are the most annoying things ever - it's easier and quicker the read the 'real' name for something rather than have to work it out. Big organisations love them though - I can't decide if it is meant to help those involved in it or put off people who aren't

Linus may be an asshole... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019515)

But he's a wise asshole. Not cow-towing to the fail that is GPL 3 (kernel, git and subsurface.) Not climbing on the CLA bandwagon...

One day Linus will be gone and Linux will probably fall into the hands of license-mongering zealots. I'm glad I probably won't be around to suffer that.

Re:Linus may be an asshole... (2)

zippthorne (748122) | about 8 months ago | (#46019675)

But.. how does linus handle contributions to the kernel? Are they stuck forever at GPLv2 because that's what all they myriad patches were submitted under and it would be prohibitive to track down everyone who ever contributed in order to get permission to change should it turn out GPLv2 has some kind of heretofore undiscovered flaw, or should a much better license come along that every other project is using except the kernel?

Surely at some point you have to put trust in someone to do the right thing, and kernel contributors should be assigning their copy rights to whatever organization or individual controls the kernel, or to an organization of like-minded licensing opinions that can negotiate with the kernel team so that the kernel organization can re-negotiate licenses as-needed without exponential effort in tracking down individual contributors.

Re:Linus may be an asshole... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019759)

They handle it with this [kernel.org] .

Re:Linus may be an asshole... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46019789)

stuck forever at GPLv2

You write that almost as if it's a problem.

Re:Linus may be an asshole... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020117)

wisdom and being a bitchy old fuck are very similar with the exact same results, stagnation

For a noted pragmatist, Linus is dead wrong... (2, Insightful)

trims (10010) | about 8 months ago | (#46019831)

Normally, I see Linus being pragmatic about things, but I have no idea why he's against CLAs.

Having a CLA (with some form of copyright assignment or "unlimited" sublicensing) is the ONLY way to run a flexible, long-term Open Source project.

The Linux kernel is the only substantial project that doesn't do this, and, frankly, can only get away with it because it's so critical. Even there, it's a pain, because (to pick a stellar example), Linux will NEVER be able to relicense itself under an improved GNU license. It's stuck FOREVER on the GNU v2 license. Which is hardly a good thing.

CLAs are a consequence of copyright, just like the licenses themselves are. They're necessary to allow a project to update the license, defend the entire codebase in court, keep track of ACTUAL authors, etc. If you don't have this, you have a toy project, one which ultimately will fail to succeed.

If you don't like CLAs, then use the BSD or Public Domain route, because they're the only licenses (or non-license) that avoids all the traps of copyright law. Otherwise, if you want copyleft of any sort, then you have to use a CLA.

Linus is basically complaining that having a driver's license is an obstacle to people just getting on the road and driving whenever they want. Sure, CLAs restrict the "fly by night" patcher. That's a feature not a bug. Sometimes, you do want to set the bar higher than the lowest common denominator. Naturally, some CLAs are worse than others, but the concept as a whole is sound.

-Erik

Re:For a noted pragmatist, Linus is dead wrong... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020029)

On the contrary, Linux is quite right. Lots of long-term open source projects don't require copyright assignment and I'm not likely to work for any which do. The reason is quite simple: If I'm contributing my time and effort to a project, I don't want the project's code to get relicensed without my concent. If a company, such as Canonical, wants me to contribute then they should be prepared to let me keep copyright of my code so I can be assured it won't get tucked away in a closed source project.

The Linux kernel not getting relicensed under a newer form of the GPL is a feature, not a bug. Some companies which use Linux now wouldn't if it switched to the GPLv3 because the newer license isn't as friendly (or easy to read) as the old one.

Re:For a noted pragmatist, Linus is dead wrong... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020125)

Not all projects have copyright assignment. In fact, the majority use "unlimited, non-revokable sublicense" concept. You retain your copyright, but give the project the flexibility to do what it needs to with your code.

By contributing, you're participating in the project, and ceding a portion of your influence as a cost of being a participant. Imaging if a project required UNANIMOUS consent of any contributor, ever, to make a license change. Or defend against a particular copyright suit, or similar. So, sure, a CLA removes some power from the individual. However, your contribution was hardly useful without the rest of the codebase, so it's unreasonable to require unanimous consensus on everything affecting the codebase.

No, the non-relicense problem of the kernel is definitely a bug. Just because it currently prevents something you don't like doesn't mean it's a feature. If, at some time, we came up with a better GNU v4 license, the kernel can't switch.

Because v2 is hardly perfect, and we're locked into it regardless.

Re:For a noted pragmatist, Linus is dead wrong... (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 8 months ago | (#46020261)

Normally, I see Linus being pragmatic about things, but I have no idea why he's against CLAs.

Linus doesn't like them because it's an extra barrier for people who might want to contribute to the code. The more barriers you have to contributors, the fewer will contribute. I can tell you that I fixed some bugs in Android, which I didn't contribute back, because the process was too painful (and that was before I realized there was a CLA; if I'd known that, I wouldn't have even tried).

Of course, there are benefits to CLAs, as you point out, and Eban Moglen points out other benefits. It's a matter of choosing what your priorities are. Linus favors the ease of contribution. He also considers the fact that Linux is stuck forever on GPLv2 to be a feature, not a problem.

WTF is CLA you nimrods?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020073)

Holy sheet what the hell you fucking retards. Is this a news source or just random bullshit posted by random idiots? (ie. digg, reddit, etc)

Samzenpus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46020119)

is utterly incompetent as an editor.

Please, for all that is just, fire his ass.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>