OpenJDK Bugzilla server rollout

Mark Wielaard mark at
Thu Feb 12 08:35:34 UTC 2009

Hi Dalibor,

On Wed, 2009-02-11 at 23:04 +0100, Dalibor Topic wrote:
> 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.

It indeed seems not very appropriate here seeing that our community
processes are different from the general ones imho.

> 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 ...

Precisely. There are multiple pages of legalese, so of course it is hard
to find the specifics, especially since they seem not tailored to our
project. But look under the section about Source Code in these terms to
see the rights transfers that this agreement insists on. But specifics
of the legal requirements might be irrelevant since they seem to have
been copy/pasted from somewhere that wasn't created to cover our works.
Lets make sure they are relevant first.

> 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.

Personally I have never seen that before for any of the projects I have
been involved with.

> Red Hat, for example, has their terms of use for their websites
For corporate users, but don't use those for their community sites like, fedoraproject or their bugzilla sites.

> Similar terms exist for the OpenSUSE, Launchpad, [...]

A quick look suggest that they aren't as broad as the ones the openjdk
bugzilla site uses but much more specific for the use cases they were
designed to cover. Also, someone else might also get this wrong, but
that doesn't mean we have to copy that.

> 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.

I think you are missing the point. This isn't about someone being wrong
on the internet. This is about communication inside a project. When you
are adding explicit legal terms that seem to not match at all with the
common sense of how a community interacts then there is a artificial
friction that prevents people from easily contributing and exchanging

The real problem here is that these terms of use seem to imply that you
can only participate in the exchange of bug discussions if you
relinquish your rights up front to some arbitrary "hosts" instead of
having an open exchange of ideas and politely asking for specific rights
that the project might need if they want to reuse some code
contributions. As others pointed out in this thread, that mechanism is
already there through the GPL and if deemed necessary a specific
transfer of rights to Sun through the SCA if they want to reuse some
code later. So not only are these new additional terms confusing, they
also seem completely unnecessary for normal interaction between the
project participants.



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