OpenJDK Bugzilla server rollout

Dalibor Topic Dalibor.Topic at Sun.COM
Wed Feb 11 22:04:29 UTC 2009

Andrew John Hughes wrote:
> Ok I only just noticed this and I don't know how binding they are but:
> links to the same terms of use.
All websites I know that are hosted under (not very many, I 
admit) use the same terms of service, I think.
That's typically how terms of use work, in my experience - unless there 
is a specific need for a sub-site to differ
in their terms of use from their parent, they reuse the parent one.

I guess what makes the OpenJDK web site different from some other free 
software collaboration web sites is that the
OpenJDK web sites have an explicit link to the terms of use, rather then 
assuming the users will know where to
go looking for them. That's a good thing, in my opinion.
>   So do O'Reilly now own all the
> patches posted to the lists?  I don't see how any of use ever
> signified our compliance with these terms.
I don't see anything about actually transferring ownership of patches 
posted to lists to O'Reilly in the terms of use, but then
I am not a lawyer and I'm really bad at playing one ...

Typically, web sites for collaboration around open source projects have 
terms of service associated with them, that grant
the hosts of the site a broad license to contributions made to the 
projects regardless of the medium those contributions come through.

Red Hat, for example, has their terms of use for their websites located 
at and they say

"Rights in Content

By displaying, publishing and making available for download and use by 
others any content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, 
sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials 
("Content") you give Red Hat a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, 
royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, 
translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute 
any Content which you submit, post or display on or through the web 
site. You agree that this license includes a right for Red Hat to make 
such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals 
with whom Red Hat has relationships for the provision of services, and 
to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services. 
You understand that Red Hat may (a) transmit or distribute your Content 
over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such 
changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that 
Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, 
services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Red Hat to 
take these actions. You confirm and warrant to Red Hat that you have all 
the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above license."

Those terms seem to me, personally, to be quite similar to those of the web site, except that Red Hat hosts their web sites alone,
as far as I can tell, while is hosted by Sun, O'Reilly and

Similar terms exist for the OpenSUSE, Launchpad, Sourceforge,, 
Google Code and many other similar sites. The Eclipse foundation, for 
also points out their (pretty similar in those aspects Mark Wielaard 
found odd) website's terms of use on their mail subcription site at . And so on.

I think David explained nicely why having terms of use contain liberal 
grants of rights to hosts makes sense in general - it eliminates a whole 
class of problems that otherwise
come up when reasonable people disagree what 'common sense' really 
means, by substituting the deceptively subjective definition of common 
sense for more explicit terms.

Of course, that also invites a whole other class of linguistic 
(lawyerese vs. regular English) and 'IANAL, but ...' problems, but those 
kinds of misunderstandings are easier to fix then 'common sense' ones, 
as my favorite xkcd comic at nicely explains.

dalibor topic

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