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Emacs CLA requirement

From: Andrei Kuznetsov
Subject: Emacs CLA requirement
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2021 13:25:25 +0800

GCC has abandoned their CLA requirement for new contributions, and
evidently glibc is about to do the same.

There has been talk of Emacs following suit, and I'm pretty certain that
if any of the anti-CLA people start this discussion first it will be
hijacked and used to strong-arm the Emacs community and the GNU
community at large into abandoning the requirement for a contributor
license agreement relying on a torrential flood of messages posted by
anti-CLA utilitarians, and resulting in an influx of low-quality

It helps less that RMS recently has been deposed from the GCC steering
committee by a bunch of professional consent-manufacturers who should
not have been given computers at an early age, which is emboldening them
to become more aggressive and demanding towards other GNU projects.

FWIW, it seems to me anecdotally that most people who are not willing to
contribute due to the CLA requirement are also the people who are not
willing to write commit messages, send e-mails, and expect to be
spoon-fed fixes to low-quality contributions.  If Emacs is not moving to
a system with so-called "pull requests", why would Emacs drop the CLA
requirement for new contributions?

Furthermore, a contributor license agreement allows the FSF to migrate
Emacs' grant of license at any time -- whilst the regular "or later"
clause only allows Emacs to also be available under a later version of
the GPL; If a malicious actor relying on hypothetical system X, which is
resolved in a hypothetical GPLv4 in the future, decides to redistribute
a future Emacs under system X, then he would be able to do so after
removing the small portion of contributions made under the "GPLv4 or
later" clause.  That seems like a rather big problem.

I would appreciate it if people clarified their viewpoints on this,
taking into account the recent events involving GCC and glibc, without
hijacking this thread.


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