GPL development etiquette - Linux

This is a discussion on GPL development etiquette - Linux ; Hi When and where is it appropriate to add your name and copyright? If I create a new file, it has to be copyright by someone for the GPL to apply? Do I use my name or the original developers ...

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  1. GPL development etiquette

    Hi

    When and where is it appropriate to add your name and copyright?

    If I create a new file, it has to be copyright by someone for the GPL
    to apply? Do I use my name or the original developers name. What if
    I didn't create the file, but made significant changes to it? Should
    I add my own copyright along with the original developers? And surely
    if I just made a minor change such as changing a typo or fix a small
    bug there would be no need to copyright that. And I assume I should
    always be adding my name/email/changes to the ChangeLog when I submit
    a patch or should I let the maintainer do that?

    Sorry if this is the wrong place for this question, it just seemed
    like the best spot.

    Dave


  2. Re: GPL development etiquette

    On Fri, 15 Jun 2007 02:24:30 -0000, wrex wrote:

    > When and where is it appropriate to add your name and copyright?
    >
    > If I create a new file, it has to be copyright by someone for the GPL
    > to apply?


    Anything that requires creativity is automatically copyrighted, whether
    so labelled or not. But it's conventional to add a copyright notice with
    the creator's name. If the work has been licensed with the GPL and you
    are not the original author, I suggest you send your patches to him/her
    rather than "fork" the code. If that's not feasible, you add your name
    to the copyright labelling.

    > Do I use my name or the original developers name. What if
    > I didn't create the file, but made significant changes to it? Should
    > I add my own copyright along with the original developers? And surely
    > if I just made a minor change such as changing a typo or fix a small
    > bug there would be no need to copyright that.


    If you're modifying a copyrighted work, you are doing so legally only
    because the GPL allows you to. You can claim copyright on your changes.
    All of the authors share the copyright on the joint work.

    > And I assume I should
    > always be adding my name/email/changes to the ChangeLog when I submit
    > a patch or should I let the maintainer do that?


    The maintainer should be doing that. The Changelog isn't yours to
    change.

    Bob T.

  3. Re: GPL development etiquette

    Bob Tennent writes:
    > On Fri, 15 Jun 2007 02:24:30 -0000, wrex wrote:
    >
    > > When and where is it appropriate to add your name and copyright?
    > >
    > > If I create a new file, it has to be copyright by someone for the GPL
    > > to apply?

    >
    > Anything that requires creativity is automatically copyrighted, whether
    > so labelled or not. But it's conventional to add a copyright notice with
    > the creator's name. If the work has been licensed with the GPL and you
    > are not the original author, I suggest you send your patches to him/her
    > rather than "fork" the code.


    There are two likely results when doing this:

    - you will be ignored

    - random idiots greatly admiring "the developers who wrote all
    this code" (we couldn't have written) will start to flame
    you for disagreeing with those demigod-like beings

    If you need the change for some reason, fork the code. You can send
    patches afterwards if trying to be nice but don't expect anything in
    return.

  4. Re: GPL development etiquette

    Bob Tennent writes:
    > The maintainer should be doing that. The Changelog isn't yours to change.


    If you are creating a fork (which should be avoided if possible) you should
    document your changes in the changelog. You will be supporting the fork
    from now on: it's your changelog now. If you are submitting a patch let
    the maintainer deal with the changelog.
    --
    John Hasler
    john@dhh.gt.org
    Dancing Horse Hill
    Elmwood, WI USA

  5. Re: GPL development etiquette

    Wow thanks for all the replies. Just to be clear, I have no intention
    of forking any projects. I am simply just trying to give back to the
    community...and if the community doesnt want what I offer then theres
    no point in forking a project to give nobody nothing.

    So when send in a patch to say, add a new feature, I should not be
    adding my own copyright to the list? And if I create a new file, it
    should be copyright by the original developer also or just me? I
    just want to be super clear on this so as not to unleash the wrath of
    random idiots. ;-)

    thx,
    dave


  6. Re: GPL development etiquette

    On a sunny day (Fri, 15 Jun 2007 11:44:39 -0700) it happened wrex
    wrote in
    <1181933079.009887.106830@c77g2000hse.googlegroups. com>:

    >Wow thanks for all the replies. Just to be clear, I have no intention
    >of forking any projects. I am simply just trying to give back to the
    >community...and if the community doesnt want what I offer then theres
    >no point in forking a project to give nobody nothing.
    >
    >So when send in a patch to say, add a new feature, I should not be
    >adding my own copyright to the list? And if I create a new file, it
    >should be copyright by the original developer also or just me? I
    >just want to be super clear on this so as not to unleash the wrath of
    >random idiots. ;-)
    >
    >thx,
    >dave


    AHA IT IS VERY SIMPLE (SPIT SPIT) I SOMETIMES EMAIL IN 'FIXES' AND SOMETIMES
    IF YOU ARE LUCKY MONTH LATER YOU TALK TO AN AUTHOR ON IRC OR WHATEVER
    INCLUDED IT AND CHANGED IT>
    SO MAYBE YOU HAVE TO BE POLITICALLY CORRECT.
    I FOUND A SOLUTION TO ALL THIS:
    I SIMPLY WRITE MY OWN, USE PARTS OF THEIR CODE,
    ADD 'ORIGINAL CODE BY' OR 'CODE BASED ON', 'CHANGES BY ......'
    AND 'COPYRIGHT ..ME.... 2007-ALWAYS' WHY BE SHY.


    ANYWAYS I CANNOT STAND MULTI PROGRAMMER PROGRAMS AS WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGES ALL
    THE TIME I LOSE OVERSIGHT.
    BEST IS TO WRITE EVERYTHING YOURSELF INCLUDING THE OS.
    I WROTE ONE OS, BUT PREFER TO WRITE EVERYTHING ONLY ONCE, ELSE NOT SO MUCH FUN
    OR CHALLENGE.

    DO NOT EXPECT ************ANYTHING**************** IN RETURN.
    RECENTLY I MADE A SPECIAL VERSION OF A SOUND PROCESSING PROGRAM FOR SOMEBODY
    WHO LIKED 24 BITS... I WAS HOPING FOR FEEDBACK...NEVER HEARD FROM THAT PERSON
    AGAIN....
    SO..BASICALLY IF IT WAS NO FUN WRITING IT, THEN YOU WASTED YOUR TIME,
    AS TO LAWYERS THE SAME GOES FOR THEM.

    HAD SOME CAPS LEFT, PAYED FOR THE CAPSLOCK AFTER ALL, BYE.



  7. Re: GPL development etiquette

    dave writes:
    > So when send in a patch to say, add a new feature, I should not be adding
    > my own copyright to the list?


    What list? You can put your copyright notice in your patch but you should
    leave it up to the maintainer to maintain his credits list: everyone seems
    to do it differently.

    > And if I create a new file, it should be copyright by the original
    > developer also or just me?


    If you are the sole author of the file it should contain only your name.

    > I just want to be super clear on this so as not to unleash the wrath of
    > random idiots.


    Doing _anything_ will unleash the wrath of random idiots. So will not
    doing anything.
    --
    John Hasler
    john@dhh.gt.org
    Dancing Horse Hill
    Elmwood, WI USA

  8. Re: GPL development etiquette

    On Jun 14, 7:24 pm, wrex wrote:
    > Hi
    >
    > When and where is it appropriate to add your name and copyright?


    Read GPL section 2a. The GPL requires you to clearly identify any
    changes you made. As for adding your own copyright notice, you can do
    that any time you make significant changes.

    > If I create a new file, it has to be copyright by someone for the GPL
    > to apply? Do I use my name or the original developers name.


    If you create a new file that contains no significant work from the
    original project, you can put just your own copyright in it. If it
    contains significant work by other people, you could include their
    copyright as well, since it is a legal fact that they hold copyright
    to it.

    > What if
    > I didn't create the file, but made significant changes to it? Should
    > I add my own copyright along with the original developers?


    You must state that you changed it. You can add your own copyright
    notice if the changes are significant.

    > And surely
    > if I just made a minor change such as changing a typo or fix a small
    > bug there would be no need to copyright that.


    Yes.

    > And I assume I should
    > always be adding my name/email/changes to the ChangeLog when I submit
    > a patch or should I let the maintainer do that?


    The etiquette on that varies.

    DS


  9. Re: GPL development etiquette

    David Schwartz wrote:
    > On Jun 14, 7:24 pm, wrex wrote:
    >> Hi
    >>
    >> When and where is it appropriate to add your name and copyright?


    > Read GPL section 2a. The GPL requires you to clearly identify any
    > changes you made. As for adding your own copyright notice, you can do
    > that any time you make significant changes.


    It does, and it doesn't:

    a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices
    stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

    Note that nowhere does it state that you should say what the changes
    were - only that some changes were made. Many developers say blurry
    things such as "code cleanup" (and there are many changelogs lacking
    dates, whether by the maintainers or contributors ;-).

    btw, the GPL doesn't distinguish a typo from "significant changes".
    (What constitutes a significant change won't find much agreement ;-)

    --
    Thomas E. Dickey
    http://invisible-island.net
    ftp://invisible-island.net

  10. Re: GPL development etiquette

    Bob Tennent wrote:
    > On Fri, 15 Jun 2007 02:24:30 -0000, wrex wrote:


    > If you're modifying a copyrighted work, you are doing so legally only
    > because the GPL allows you to. You can claim copyright on your changes.
    > All of the authors share the copyright on the joint work.


    noting that the GPL in this context is an example of a license which
    permits change (to distinguish the comment from the notion that "GPL
    allows you" - the _GPL_ cannot provide permission since _that_ is provided
    by the people holding the copyright).

    > > And I assume I should
    > > always be adding my name/email/changes to the ChangeLog when I submit
    > > a patch or should I let the maintainer do that?


    > The maintainer should be doing that. The Changelog isn't yours to
    > change.


    Any change should be accompanied by a concise description of what it does.
    The maintainer may choose to merely reformat the information.

    (I've encountered maintainers who simply take the changes and update
    the changelog implying that they are the author of the change -
    that's sufficient reason to fork the code).

    --
    Thomas E. Dickey
    http://invisible-island.net
    ftp://invisible-island.net

  11. Re: GPL development etiquette

    On Jun 18, 3:38 am, Thomas Dickey wrote:

    > btw, the GPL doesn't distinguish a typo from "significant changes".
    > (What constitutes a significant change won't find much agreement ;-)


    I think that was intentional. With enough cleverness, I can probably
    mask a subtle security flaw to look like fixing a typo or a one-liner
    code cleanup. The GPL was trying to assure (to the extent it can) that
    I know whose hands my file passed through.

    DS


  12. Re: GPL development etiquette

    David Schwartz writes:

    > On Jun 18, 3:38 am, Thomas Dickey wrote:
    >
    >> btw, the GPL doesn't distinguish a typo from "significant changes".
    >> (What constitutes a significant change won't find much agreement ;-)

    >
    > I think that was intentional. With enough cleverness, I can probably
    > mask a subtle security flaw to look like fixing a typo or a one-liner
    > code cleanup. The GPL was trying to assure (to the extent it can) that
    > I know whose hands my file passed through.


    Someone tried that (at least) once with the Linux kernel:

    http://kerneltrap.org/node/1584

    This is the diff:

    --- GOOD 2003-11-05 13:46:44.000000000 -0800
    +++ BAD 2003-11-05 13:46:53.000000000 -0800
    @@ -1111,6 +1111,8 @@
    schedule();
    goto repeat;
    }
    + if ((options == (__WCLONE|__WALL)) && (current->uid = 0))
    + retval = -EINVAL;
    retval = -ECHILD;
    end_wait4:
    current->state = TASK_RUNNING;


    --
    Måns Rullgård
    mans@mansr.com