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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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[ Thanks to James Maguire for this link. ]

"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 software (FOSS).

"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."

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