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Linus Torvalds: Any CLA Is Fundamentally Broken 279

sfcrazy writes "The controversy over Canonical's Contributor License Agreement (CLA) has once again surfaced. While Matthew Garrett raises valid points about the flaws in Canonical's CLAs, Linus Torvalds says 'To be fair, people just like hating on Canonical. The FSF and Apache Foundation CLA's are pretty much equally broken. And they may not be broken because of any relicencing, but because the copyright assignment paperwork ends up basically killing the community. Basically, with a CLA, you don't get the kind of "long tail" that the kernel has of random drive-by patches. And since that's how lots of people try the waters, any CLA at all – changing the license or not – is fundamentally broken.'"
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Linus Torvalds: Any CLA Is Fundamentally Broken

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  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @07:42PM (#46019405) Homepage
    Because the submitter doesn't know how to do it right, and the "editors" don't know how to do their job. What else do you expect from Slashdot?
  • by gallondr00nk ( 868673 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @07:44PM (#46019423)

    Or mention the problem people have with the Canonical CLA in the first place, which according to TFA is the requirement that contributers sign an agreement that gives Canonical the right to relicense their contribution under a proprietary licence.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @07:51PM (#46019473)

    Because the submitter doesn't know how to do it right, and the "editors" don't know how to do their job. What else do you expect from Slashdot?

    I used to expect a lot more from Slashdot, but now that none of the old-guard are left it's steadily and inexorably slipping in the same fashion that kuro5hin, The Register, and other tech sites have slipped.

    In case you didn't know, there are holding companies buying up forums, news sites, aggregators, etc. At this point half-a-dozen automotive forums that I've used are now under one company, and that company milks the forums for advertising revenue without really policing the forums for abuse anymore. Since those forums lack a community-policing method like Slashdot and a few others there's very little to stop the race to the bottom as suddenly off-topic discussions, especially politics, come to pollute the original purpose with garbage that has nothing to do with cars.

    These companies often don't advertise that they're in charge of so many forums, but some like The HAMB do. I encourage people to leave forums that head down this route, it's the only way to let these companies know that we don't appreciate what they're doing. Unfortunately that's probably a losing battle as there are a lot more users to replace those that walk away.

  • by ustolemyname ( 1301665 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @08:48PM (#46019895)

    The Linux kernel is stuck on the GNU v2 license for exactly this reason, and can never change. That's the fate of any such non-CLA'd Open Source project (other than something using Public Domain or the BSD license).

    Actually no, the Linux kernel is stuck on the GNU GPL v2 because Linus made that decision on purpose. The default GNU license allows for relicencing under any later version, but Linux removed that clause on purpose.

    Here's his rant against GPLv3: []

  • by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:03PM (#46020449) Homepage
    The issue isn't that it's an unfamiliar abbreviation, the issue is that the TLA namespace is so horribly cluttered now that CLA could mean any one of between 74 [] and 85 [] different things.
  • by S.O.B. ( 136083 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:38PM (#46020657)

    Knowing that "CLA" was sure to generate a rather broad result I searched for "Canonical CLA" and it's the first hit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:08AM (#46021615)

    If the executable contains a valid signature, and they do not provide a means to add a valid signature, then they do not provide a means to rebuild the executable.

    The signature is not required for rebuilding the executable, it is only required for installation and execution on a particular platform which the LGPLv2.1 does not specify is required. Your interpretation of the LGPLv2.1 is incorrect, that is the very reason for the additions to section 4 of the LGPLv3 [] that specifically call out installation and execution of the executable:

    and only to the extent that such information is necessary to install and execute a modified version of the Combined Work produced by recombining or relinking the Application with a modified version of the Linked Version.

  • Not true (Score:5, Informative)

    by linuxhansl ( 764171 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:45AM (#46021799)
    Let me just go ahead and call this bullshit. I am a committer to Apache HBase, and we see (and encourage) drive by patches all the time. The only folks who have to sign a CLA are the committers themselves, which seems reasonable to me.
  • Canonical-hate (Score:4, Informative)

    by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @07:07AM (#46022903)
    Linus is correct: even at Slashdot I see a lot of people hating Canonical just for the sake of doing it. They systematically hate Mark Shuttleworth and every new component that is introduced to Ubuntu.

The IBM purchase of ROLM gives new meaning to the term "twisted pair". -- Howard Anderson, "Yankee Group"