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Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)

From: Karl Fogel
Subject: Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 14:35:57 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3.50 (gnu/linux)

+1 to what Glenn and Eli said.

Normally, I'd just invoke http://donotfeedtheenergybeast.com/ and
refrain from further comment!  But there's something that should be made
clear to Jambunathan and, more importantly, to other Org and Emacs

When J. Random Developer makes a copyright assignment to the FSF, it is
a signal to everyone that jrandom's commits are now worth some extra
investment: more time spent on code review, more participation in design
discussion, bug reporting, further dependent changes, etc.

The changes Jambunathan has committed so far are changes that other
people have *already* invested in.  Everyone was assured that the
changes had cleared the purely procedural hurdles to becoming part of
Emacs, and everyone acted based on that assurance.  Jambunathan can't
just retroactively undo that -- others have already counted on it.

If he wants to withdraw his copyright assignment for future changes --
changes that have not yet hit any public repository, where people might
invest their own time into those changes -- I guess he could do that.
But the idea that he can retroactively cause people to have wasted time
is ridiculous.  The changes he's contributed so far are covered by his
past commitment, and we should rely on commitment whether he wants us to
or not.

It's clear from looking at the Org Mode dev thread and this conversation
that he would never be chosen by any other developers as the Org Mode
maintainer.  It's equally clear that he is capable of disrupting
development and wasting everyone's time.  I don't know first-hand how
important his future technical contributions might be, but unless the
answer is "incredibly crucial", the best thing the projects could do
would be to

  - Accept no further changes from him.
  - Don't let him post on the dev mailing lists any more, period.

I hope the Org and Emacs maintainers will do the above.  This similar
instance from over a decade ago might be a useful comparison:


Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:
>> From: Jambunathan K <address@hidden>
>> Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 01:55:20 +0530
>> Cc: address@hidden
>> > If these are the kinds of games you like to play, then my proposal
>> > (it's not up to me though) to resolve the issue is that we stop
>> > accepting contributions of any kind from you to Emacs.  This would
>> > save us having to waste time on this.
>> How clear are you? I am confused.  You are arguing for not having
>> ox-html.el and ox-odt.el in Emacs or are you arguing for it?
>He is arguing for you to shut up and go away, if that's not clear.  No
>amount of word games can conceal your ill will and selfish,
>self-serving conduct.  It is clear to everyone here, believe me.  It
>didn't begin today, either.  Cut your losses and get lost.
>> I am talking about a contract that I signed and seeking clarifications.
>This is not the proper place to talk about that.  Please talk to the
>FSF personnel, who are the only ones that can give you authoritative
>answers anyway.  The Emacs and Org maintainers will do whatever the
>FSF personnel decide on that matter and instruct us to do.

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