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[Bug-wget] Probable Wget maintenance hiatus

From: Micah Cowan
Subject: [Bug-wget] Probable Wget maintenance hiatus
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2008 17:26:50 -0800
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So, I will soon be changing employment.

Unfortunately, there is apparently a snag with my ability to contribute
code to Wget. My new employer does not sign outside agreements regarding
employees for liability reasons, so they're extremely unlikely to sign
the typical FSF copyright disclaimer for employers; however, the
employee agreement explicitly states (and California law guarantees)
that any work I produce on my own time and equipment, that has nothing
to do with their business, belongs to me alone (which means I have the
right to assign it to the FSF, as normal).

While my employer and I believe this should be more than sufficient, the
FSF's legal counsel apparently disagrees, and will require a signed
disclaimer that explicitly permits me to assign copyright over work done
in Wget to the FSF.

This thread is _not_ to discuss who's in the right here (so please don't
use it to comment on that); the upshot is that I may soon be unable to
contribute new code or documentation to Wget until such a time as this
issue is resolved. (I could at least work on completing the integration
of Steven Schweda's FTP and VMS-related patches, as that shouldn't
involve coding on my part, but only review and selection.)

During this period, I believe I should be able to continue to merge
patches from other folks, and of course manage bug lists and whatnot,
but will be unable to write fixes on my own, or even significantly
rewrite submitted patches to be more suitable for Wget. My employment
begins November 17, so from that day forward I will be unable to develop
Wget until this matter is resolved.

On the bright side, my current employment will terminate on November 11,
so I'll have five days free that I intend to devote full-time to Wget
development. Wget is close enough to a 1.12 release that it's not
entirely infeasible that enough work could be accomplished in that time
to justify a 1.12 release (though probably with fewer issues addressed
than I'd hoped to have done for 1.12).

There is a possibility that this matter will _not_ be resolved, and I
will have to resign from my role as maintainer of GNU Wget. If this
process is prolonged or meets an impasse, I will abdicate my role and
GNU Wget will be in search of a new maintainer. In the meantime, I am
interested in finding someone who would be willing to serve as deputy
maintainer during this period.

FWIW, this issue will not impact my ability to serve as a maintainer for
GNU Screen and my own GNU Teseq; unlike GNU Wget, the code for these
projects is not owned by the FSF, and are not subject to the same
copyright disclaimer requirements.

I'm continuing to work with my new employer and with the FSF to resolve
this matter as quickly as possible, but it's only fair to warn you that
there may be a gap in development (not that there hasn't been one
recently anyway...).

- --
Micah J. Cowan
Programmer, musician, typesetting enthusiast, gamer.
GNU Maintainer: wget, screen, teseq
Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org


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