Linux and Authority To Contribute

Greg London email at
Tue May 25 11:07:09 EDT 2004

Rob Myers said:
> Here's the final release of the new Linux signing off thingy

By making a contribution to this project, I certify that:

(a) The contribution was created in whole or in part by me and I have the
right to submit it under the open source license indicated in the file; or

(b) The contribution is based upon previous work that, to the best of my
knowledge, is covered under an appropriate open source license and I have the
right under that license to submit that work with modifications, whether
created in whole or in part by me, under the same open source license (unless
I am permitted to submit under a different license), as indicated in the file;

(c) The contribution was provided directly to me by some other person who
certified (a), (b) or (c) and I have not modified it.

If all Linux contributers had done this from the beginning,
I don't believe it would have made a jot of difference when
Microsoft sicced its SCO dogs on IBM.

It still comes down to SCO saying "Thats our code"
and with no audit trail as to who contributed what
it becomes a mammoth effort to prove the pieces
SCO claims are theirs actually came from someone else.

Linux will need to incorporate a fine-grain source
control approach, checking in every contribution
individually on a CVS branch, and then merging them all
to the main trunk for release.

This would provide an audit trail that says
"this part came from Alice, that came from Bob,
those came from Charlie. and together, all those
pieces formed kernel version 3.1"

If SCO claims plagarized code, a simple check of
the audit trail will show whether any contributers
were employees of SCO and didn't have SCO file
a disclaimer of copyright.

A simple "sign off" document won't help against
SCO-like suits because it doesn't associate the
contributer's name with the code.

"Impatient Perl" => Perl geek in about a week.
Available in GNU-FDL, HTML, PDF, and paperback.

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