Ubuntu, Canonical Wallow in Muddy Waters with Contributors' Agreements
Sep 21, 2010, 15:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)
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"If you believe everything you read on the Internet,
then Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu distribution, can't
do anything right.
"Part of the reason for this attitude is that, because of
Ubuntu's popularity, Canonical is under a scrutiny so intense that
every fault is magnified. Another part of the reason is that
Canonical is visibly struggling with balancing its commercial
efforts with being a corporate citizen of free and open source
"However, whatever the reasons, no sooner has the controversy
over Ubuntu's contributions to GNOME and other FOSS projects
quieted than people are questioning Canonical's contributor
agreement, condemning it as a flawed document that misses the
spirit of FOSS.
"Under the Canonical Contributor Agreement, participants in
Ubuntu's development agree to transfer the copyright in their work
to Canonical. The controversy is not over the mere fact of the
copyright assignment, which is common enough in FOSS development.
It's been been used by -- among others -- the GNU Project,
OpenOffice.org, and the Free Software Foundation Europe's (FSFE)
Fiduciary License Agreement."