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Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)

From: Jambunathan K
Subject: Re: Copyright/Distribution questions (Emacs/Orgmode)
Date: Mon, 01 Apr 2013 14:02:18 +0530
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3.50 (gnu/linux)

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:

>     At what point does a piece of code or a diff become a "change to Emacs"?
> A diff for Emacs is always a change to Emacs.
> I will think about the questions raised by a separate Lisp file.

As an impartial observer, I think the phrase - "diff for Emacs" -
(including a whole new file) requires further qualification.  See below.

I have been tracking the following story

Therein, Bradley M. Kuhn (bkuhn) has the following to say.  I quote,

    > Speaking as a member of FSF's Board of Directors, I can tell you
    > that the FSF copyright assignment agreement is under near-constant
    > review, and has been for decades. The agreement can be canceled by
    > the developer and further changes made thereafter wouldn't be
    > assigned.

    > It sounds to me like Jambunathan is exploring whether or not he
    > wants to cancel this assignment. That's his right, but it's
    > interesting to note that Jambunathan hasn't canceled
    > yet. Presumably, he is exploring the cost-benefit analysis as to
    > whether he'd like his new code to continue to be concluded in the
    > FSF's canonical distribution of Emacs or not.

I have no intention of cancelling my copyright assignment for Emacs
(unilaterally from my side).  I have no doubts that my patches are
useful to me and also a broad audience.

I think it is only right that a developer request that some of his work
be excluded from assignment with prior notice to copyright clerk.  Emacs
is a suite.  The intention of future assignment is merely a logistical

Personally, I don't want to support Org-mode developement under the
maintainership of Bastien Guerry.  The fact that I am doing pro-bono
work doesn't mean that I give others the right to step on me like "a
door mat".

    > Anyway, it's unfortunate the Corbet's article above doesn't
    > reiterate the advantages of assigning to FSF to
    > developers. Specifically, the FSF takes on the obligation of being
    > the publisher of the code (which can sometimes be a dangerous act in
    > today's world), and also, FSF handles enforcement of the GPL for the
    > codebase. Finally, FSF gives a liberal license back to the developer
    > (i.e., Jambunathan could have always made proprietary software out
    > of his own assigned works after doing the assignment), and FSF
    > further promises never to publish a proprietary version of the
    > software itself.

If I can make a proprietary version out of (prior) assigned work, then
saying "diff for Emacs" belong to Emacs seems a bit inconsistent.  

So, a "diff for Emacs or the suite", in and of itself, is devoid of any
meaning without further qualification.

    > Finally, given the liberal license grant-back and the realities of
    > the general nature of private changes, the comment in the article
    > about what happens with private changes seems like a red herring to
    > me.

Btw, I didn't receive $1 or GNU stickers.  Other contributors seem to
have received these "considerations".  I would have loved to get these!

Jambunathan K.

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