June 25, 2014
Jonathan M Davis via dmd-internals, el 25 de June a las 09:45 me escribiste:
> On Wednesday, June 25, 2014 15:59:38 Leandro Lucarella via dmd-internals wrote:
> > Andrei Alexandrescu, el 25 de June a las 06:21 me escribiste:
> > > On 6/25/14, 6:19 AM, Leandro Lucarella wrote:
> > > >Why? I still don't get it. All the rest makes no sense at all unless you can answer that question.
> > >
> > > I care for his peace of mind enough to do him a small favor. -- Andrei
> >
> > This is ridiculous, seriously, I'm surprised. I thought we were smart technical people.
> 
> I confess that I'm a bit surprised that Andrei is responding the way that he is - particularly in light of the fact that most open source projects do not require copyright assignment - and I think that he's reacting too strongly, but so are you. Having tempers flare over this isn't helping anyone. This conversation seriously threatens to reach the point where it's uncivil enough that it's unuseful and counter-productive, if it hasn't reached that point already.

You are right. I'm sorry.

-- 
Leandro Lucarella (AKA luca)                     http://llucax.com.ar/
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June 25, 2014
Walter Bright via dmd-internals, el 25 de June a las 09:04 me escribiste:
> As for some contributors turning away over this, that would be regrettable. But consider that over the years I've worked with a lot of good developers. Sometimes I'll run into one that is very, very concerned about other people stealing their ideas, and regularly accuse others of actually doing so. When we part ways, frankly, it's a relief not to have to deal with them anymore. Do I really want to have copyrights inextricably mingled with theirs, so I'm "joined at the hip" with them forever? No. And I doubt you would, either. Their contribution is just not worth the aggravation.

Walter, do you understand that problem is long gone since you chose the Boost license? And that future concerns can be gone by adding that the user can, at his choice, use the current version or a newer one?

All you are saying there is not a problem given the current conditions. I understand your concerns from the past, but please don't ignore there are not a concern now. That problem is already fixed. So why introducing bureaucracy (a point that you are also ignoring completely) that many contributors won't be willing to give for free (and I'm not talking about money, but about good reasons in general), and blocking COMPLETELY the possibility to "steal" external boost-licensed code to fix a non-problem. As David said the cure is worse than the disease.

> If anyone should be mad about others stealing code/ideas, it should be me. I actually have had people steal my code, blatantly replace my copyright notice with theirs, and go on to make 5-6 figures off of it, more than once.

Again this is irrelevant to the discussion. I sympathise with your feelings, but it has nothing to do with the discussion. We are already using Boost license, so nobody here is concerned about their code being used by someone else. You didn't legally lose your copyright when people stole your code, they just committed a crime. I also felt bad a couple of months ago when my camera got stolen. But that is completely irrelevant to the discussion too.

> It's taken me many years to come to around to buying into Boost, and not worrying about other people stealing my ideas. These days, what makes me happy is if someone finds my code good enough to use!

Perfect! I think we all agree about that, and ceding copyright over your code is not necessary to use Boost, as some other people said.

> I would make DMD public domain if I could. But legally that won't work. So I go for the next best thing. Consider also that:
> 
> 1. I don't have a well-financed phalanx of lawyers to consult, or even one, let alone have the resources to litigate anybody over the rights issue. It's not going to happen. Nor do I want to expend the time to do it. Nor is anyone offering such resources.

Perfect, in this sense it makes much more sense for people keeping their copyright and making themselves responsible for any litigation. We are only concerned about people suing D for some use of code that belonged to someone else, not the other way around because we don't want to sue anyone, we want D to be for all practical uses Public Domain. So I don't see a need for require copyright assignment for this point. I will even take burden from you and you'll need even less lawyers.

> 2. I want D to be as available as possible. That means I need to be able to make adjustments to the license as required to do so, on behalf of the greater D community.

Checked. Boost covers that, just add an option to use the software under a newer Boost license, like the users of the GPL normally do.

> 3. You mentioned Boost1 and Boost2 licenses living alongside each other. That isn't practical with DMD. Contributions are all inextricably entangled with each other in the code. How could anyone try to tease out which are which license?

What? No. What I'm saying is adding, as the GPL recommend, something
like this:
This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it
under the terms of the Boost Software License as published by the
<SOMEONE>, either version 1.0 of the License, or (at your option) any
later version.

That <SOMEONE> could be Digital Mars, you or whoever you want, that's fine with me because the whole point is to keep the code as freely available as possible, so as long as I can use Boost 1.0 I don't care if one day you go bananas and decide to publish a Boost 3.22 which have all kind of crazy restrictions, I can still use Boost 1.0.

What I don't want to gratuitously lose (and probably many companies either) is the right to do whatever I want with that code too.

> 4. The credit issue is amply handled by github.

This is not a reason either for or against copyright assignment, so is irrelevant. I think you still don't get there are other reasons (much more important) than people egos not to require copyright assignment.

> 5. Many have expressed confidence that Boost is a perfect license and will never need changing.

I don't. Even when I think the risk is extremely low, that's not a problem with what I said before, so I'll skip this point on that ground.

> All I hear there is my father saying "famous last words". Heck, I don't expect my house to burn down, either, but I still buy fire insurance for the simple reason that I cannot afford the loss. I don't have comprehensive insurance on my car because I can afford to lose the car. I (and I presume to include the other dmd contributors) cannot afford to lose DMD.
> 
> 6. With DMD assignment, the worst case (i.e. I break bad) is that the D community will have to rely on Boost 1.0. Without DMD assignment, the best case is that we have to rely on Boost 1.0. I don't see any case where the contributors or community is legally worse off with CA.

NO. Worse case is we LOSE lots of contributions and the freedom to grab boost-licensed code and use it freely!!!

> 7. All the DMD contributors I have asked to assign copyright have done so. I view this with gratitude and great pleasure that we have such an awesome community of developers here, all willing to work together to make sure that D is and will remain free for all to use without constraint.

Well, you've been lucky so far, and you probably dealt only with amateur contributors. The more D gets professionalized, the more you'll find problems with copyright assignment. If you want to continue asking for this but you don't make it mandatory, then that's perfectly fine with me.

> 8. Dealing with this is not something that I want to do. I just want to write code. But who else is going to?

The best case scenario is nobody has to, and I think we are in that
scenario right now. You are fearing something from the past. "You are
living in the past, man! You’re hung up on some clown from the ’60s,
man!" :P
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esJl7MZoVww#t=14s

> Somebody has to step up and do their best to make these sorts of decisions, even when not everyone agrees. For better or worse, the ball's in my court, and I need to deal with it the best I can. I believe that copyright assignment for major contributors to the DMD compiler code is the most practical and pragmatic solution for us. It protects you, I, and the other contributors to ensure our work will not get discarded for unfortunate legal reasons. So I respectfully ask for your indulgence on this.

The funny thing is you can do whatever you want, you don't need anyone agreeing with you to require this, I can't stop you, so you don't have to ask for mine or anyone else's indulgence :)

Only the future will tell if this is a good choice or not, and even then it would be hard to really tell, because there might be people that gets put off from contributing even before you get to ask for the copyright assignment.

Personally I think is a big mistake and is largely unjustified. I hope I'm wrong.

-- 
Leandro Lucarella (AKA luca)                     http://llucax.com.ar/
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June 26, 2014
On Jun 24, 2014, at 11:33 PM, Walter Bright via dmd-internals <dmd-internals@puremagic.com> wrote:

> 
> On 6/24/2014 5:19 PM, David Nadlinger wrote:
>> 
>>   C.6) You wrote earlier that "the credit has a lot of value to one's professional career", and I couldn't agree more. Yet at the same time, you are asking people for the permission to take it away from them. Regardless of whether you actually intend to do that or not, the simple possibility makes this a rude thing to do without a good reason.
>> 
> 
> 
> I find this discussion rather exhausting. But I want to respond strongly to this point. The CA simply does not take credit away from a contributor. Copyright status has nothing to do with who did the work. For example, a book author assigns copyright to the publisher, but nobody imagines that the publisher wrote the book.

On this point, it is true, but a completely different situation. An author of a book doesn't assign copyright to a publisher because they trust the publisher or because the publisher has been nice to them, they do it to get paid, or to get published. Generally the author doesn't have the means or the knowhow to publish (this is becoming less of a hurdle lately) and market, and the ability to absorb a possible flop of a book. The publisher offers a great service and cash in exchange for the rights to copy.

In this case, we are talking about the rights to software that is already published, already where it should be, to be assigned for no practical reason except some undiscovered, and likely mythical, flaw in a license, which has existed for over a decade without challenge, which has been written and examined by countless for-profit and highly respected attorneys (this is the VERY reason we chose boost, you said yourself proprietary houses are OK with the terms of the boost license) in a world where zero open source licenses have been successfully challenged in court. Basically, you are asking for copyright assignment with no benefit to the assigner, in case the proverbial open source sky falls.

I find the discussion exhausting too, but quite solvable. What I would not like to see is to have contributions to DMDFE stop happening, and instead going to the other compilers that use DMDFE under the boost license but not ported back to the original project. That would be disastrous, and essentially forking the community. Exhausting as it is, we are not foolish children that need to be explained by the wise and experienced parent how it is. We have experience, we have understanding of the situation. But ultimately as the owner of DMDFE, it is your choice. And this choice really may piss off or turn away a lot of contributors or potential contributors who love D, so make it wisely.

> 
> I'm not asking for CA for phobos, because I think that any issues can be worked around, i.e. the modules are replaceable.

And I'm very glad to hear that.

> This is not so true of DMDFE. Trying to unwind a major contributor's work is a completely daunting task. I don't want to ever be faced with such a disaster. I don't have a well-financed phalanx of lawyers to bulldoze past such problems. And would the OTHER contributors to DMD care to have their good work made useless because one other contributor is no longer willing or available to give their consent to a change? The worst thing that could happen to DMD contributors is to have their work abandoned. Me, I don't want to expend my life doing things that would be abandoned, and I expect other open source contributors to feel the same way.

And it won't be. There are already 3 projects using DMDFE, and those will not all be abandoned, regardless of CA status. There are other front ends we could use (e.g. SDC) that could be relicensed if needed.

> 
> As I recall, there were 5 authors of Tango XML. 4 agreed to change the license, one refused. The 4 got their work thrown away because it was inextricably intermingled with the 5th. I don't want that to happen to DMD contributors.

1. This hasn't happened, the work isn't thrown away and is still present in tango's library. Anyone is free to use it and include attribution to tango.
2. DMDFE continues to be part of DMD, LDC, and GDC. This won't stop, nor will it get thrown away.

There has not yet been any evidence shown in this discussion, IMO, that warrants assigning of copyright. Yet that is the current situation, and you are free to leave it that way. It may reduce the contributions to DMDFE, but that is your choice.

You don't actually have to make it now. This is the situation that will force your hand:

1. Henji Kara appears and makes LDC 2x as fast as DMD and fixes 100 bugs in LDC.
2. The developers of DMD would like to incorporate these changes, but Mr. Kara refuses to assign copyright.
3. The developers of LDC refuse to remove these fixes, as they are too important.
4. LDC can STILL take improvements from DMD, because the boost license allows them to do that, but DMD will not get the reciprocal fixes. In case the sky falls.

> When the Boost license is used, one essentially has already agreed to give up their rights to the code. What right is being usefully retained by not doing the CA? If someone has a real issue with that, I am more than willing to talk with them and see if a resolution can be found.

This is not what the boost license does. It allows others to use their code that they still own, and not have to pay, not have to release the source, not have to give binary attribution. It does not give up all rights. For example, they still have the right to release the code separately, perhaps with improvements, under another more restrictive, or incompatible license.

Imagine there is some project that I want to donate my code to, besides D. And the owner of the project has some sort of paranoia about licenses, and doesn't like the boost license. He requires me to change it to Grandma's Super License (I think that was brought up earlier), which I have no problem with. If I've given DM the copyright ownership of the license, then I have to get permission from DM to relicense my own code. Even if DM is accommodating on that, it makes no sense to insert them between us. As you cannot bring yourself to trust any contributor, why should we all trust you and DM's heirs implicitly? If you can come up with a good reason, I could consider it.

> If anyone is still unsure of my intentions, recall that I repeatedly offered to the Tango team that I granted permission to them to use ANY of my D code, and they could relicense their fork of it as they saw fit. I did not oblige them to reciprocate, and they did not, but I'd still do it again.

As I recall, you did not require CA, just relicensing. CA was never on the table, and never would have resolved this situation (any CA of Tango code would have gone to the main developer of Tango who was the one that refused to allow incorporation into phobos). And I don't think you were offering to assign copyright to them as a reciprocal offer. Tango licensing issues continue to be irrelevant to this discussion, and I say that as someone who was one of the affected authors of Tango code that was held hostage from being Phobos code.

BTW, as a side note, when posting on these message groups, can everyone please sign their posts? The new system does not say who the messages are from, I have to look at the "Reply-To" header to see, and that doesn't show up by default.

-Steve
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June 26, 2014
This didn't show up before for some reason, so I'm sending it again. Sorry if anyone gets it twice.

On Wednesday, June 25, 2014 09:04:36 Walter Bright via dmd-internals wrote:
> 8. Dealing with this is not something that I want to do. I just want to write code. But who else is going to? Somebody has to step up and do their best to make these sorts of decisions, even when not everyone agrees. For better or worse, the ball's in my court, and I need to deal with it the best I can. I believe that copyright assignment for major contributors to the DMD compiler code is the most practical and pragmatic solution for us. It protects you, I, and the other contributors to ensure our work will not get discarded for unfortunate legal reasons. So I respectfully ask for your indulgence on this.

I confess that before this discussion I had no idea that by contributing to dmd, contributors transferred copyright to digital mars, and I do think that the concerns about boost are a bit paranoid given how simple and permissive the license is (though it certainly is theoretically possible that something could go wrong with it eventually), but given the nature of dmd, I don't think that the requirement that copyright assignment be transferred is unreasonable. And it's always been this way, so it's not like Walter is asking that the copyright for already contributed code be transferred.  So, while I probably wouldn't make the same choice myself, I support this decision.

I think that it would be a very different question if druntime or Phobos had this requirement, given how much more modular they are and how they cover a lot of different areas instead of just a compiler. It's not only easier to work around licensing issues with Phobos due to is modularity, but I also think that we're a lot more likely to run into problems with folks not wanting to contribute when you're talking about them adding some piece of functionality to the standard library that they may have and use elsewhere as opposed to fixing a bug in the compiler, or even adding a new feature to it. Most folks don't have their own compilers. But it doesn't sound like the question of assigning copyright for druntime or Phobos is even on the table, so while I think that the concerns over copyright assignment are more relevant there, they're also a non-issue at this point.

From the sounds of it, all that Walter is requesting is that we maintain the status quo. And I don't think that that's unreasonable.

- Jonathan M Davis

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June 26, 2014
On 26 Jun 2014, at 18:07, Jonathan M Davis via dmd-internals wrote:
> I confess that before this discussion I had no idea that by contributing to
> dmd, contributors transferred copyright to digital mars, […]

That's because, indeed, they didn't transfer copyright that way. The prevailing legal opinion is that this requires adding an extra step to the contribution process, such as filling in a form that explicitly states that copyright assignment is taking place.

> […] so it's not like Walter is asking that the
> copyright for already contributed code be transferred.

In fact, he did exactly this a few weeks ago in private to be able to change the license to Boost. All the current contributors were happy to agree, because it indeed was a simple way to handle the situation. This also includes me and the all the others who argue that requiring copyright assignment going forward is a mistake.

> But it doesn't sound like the question of assigning copyright for druntime or Phobos is even on the table […]

Andrei argued for it earlier, but I think it's off the table now, yes.

> From the sounds of it, all that Walter is requesting is that we maintain the status quo.

Just to make it extra clear: No, what Walter is requesting adds an extra barrier to the contribution process compared to the status quo. This is not the controversial part. The debate is over whether that is a good idea or not.

Cheers,
David
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June 26, 2014
On 6/26/2014 8:39 AM, Steven Schveighoffer via dmd-internals wrote:
> Imagine there is some project that I want to donate my code to, besides D. And the owner of the project has some sort of paranoia about licenses, and doesn't like the boost license. He requires me to change it to Grandma's Super License (I think that was brought up earlier), which I have no problem with. If I've given DM the copyright ownership of the license, then I have to get permission from DM to relicense my own code.

And I would have no reservations about providing such permission on behalf of the D community. Note that I already gave Tango permission to relicense my code under a more restrictive license.


>   Even if DM is accommodating on that, it makes no sense to insert them between us. As you cannot bring yourself to trust any contributor,

It's not just that. Contributors disappear now and then. This has happened multiple times to me and others - the email addresses just go dead.


>   why should we all trust you and DM's heirs implicitly? If you can come up with a good reason, I could consider it.


Because I have a documented history of providing such permission (to Tango, in particular). I have tried to be a good steward of D's IP on behalf of the D community, and fully intend to continue to do so and justify the community's trust in me to be BDFL of it.



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