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Re: GNU project _does_ discriminate contributors by classes

From: Mike Gerwitz
Subject: Re: GNU project _does_ discriminate contributors by classes
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2019 22:32:10 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.0.50 (gnu/linux)

On Tue, Oct 29, 2019 at 17:43:05 +0300, Dmitry Alexandrov wrote:
> Jean Louis <> wrote:
>> GNU project does not discriminate by gender, or other classes, neither
>> verifies genders of contributors, or their classes, as everybody is
>> welcome to contribute
> To the best of my knowledge, thatʼs completely untrue: major GNU subprojects
> do discriminate contributors by classes: if a contributor-to-be happens to
> be an employee, FSF does not trust his words about origin of his
> contribution, he has to bring a reference from his employer.
> Speaking frankly, even if we put aside how time-consuming it may be, itʼs
> hard for me to imagine what can be more degrading and thus ‘alienating’ to
> someone, than a straightaway demand to prove that he is not a liar.

This is a legal issue and has nothing to do with discrimination.

I had to have my employer sign one of those waivers.  The purpose is to
put my contributions on solid legal ground.  _I_ can claim that I have
the legal right to make those contributions, but what happens when the
FSF goes to enforce copyright and my employer goes to argue that they
have no authority to do so because I never had the right to assign
copyright to the FSF for my contributions to begin with?

But since my employer has signed a waiver, there's no question.  And I'm
thankful for that, because it also removes any concern from my
mind.  (In fact, in my case, the FSF's legal team and my employer had to
negotiate terms under which my contributions are assignable.)

As Jason Self mentioned, this isn't always necessary.  In my case it was
necessary because some of the code I was assigning was written during
work hours.

Mike Gerwitz
Free Software Hacker+Activist | GNU Maintainer & Volunteer
GPG: D6E9 B930 028A 6C38 F43B  2388 FEF6 3574 5E6F 6D05

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