[pacman-dev] Time for changes

Judd Vinet jvinet at zeroflux.org
Wed Oct 4 13:22:34 EDT 2006

On Wed, 4 Oct 2006 11:40:40 +0200
VMiklos <vmiklos at frugalware.org> wrote:
> okay, we need facts. what about alpm.c? i _do_ think it was nowhere in
> 2002

When I see a copyright in a source file that is part of a the entire
source code for an autonomous/whole project, I see it as a copyright
representing the WHOLE project, not that individual file.  Following
that logic, if I write a new source file (eg, db.c or whatever) in
2004, I still add the 2002-2004 (C) to it, since the pacman project
itself began in 2002.

Approaching this idea from another angle... imagine if all of pacman
was in a single .c file.  Then it would make perfect sense to keep the
copyright from 2002, since that's when the file began?  Files
are just a way of organizing the code -- the project itself is what I'm
considering when I write down those dates.

I think some projects have a more structured modularity to them that
necessitates a more distributed copyright system.  I have reservations
about moving copyrights over to something like "The Pacman Team",
because then the code is officially governed by a body of people, and a
body which has no real rules or structure at this time.  What if there
was a decision to be made that could only be done so by the copyright
holder, and "The Pacman Team" was divided on it?  Can an ephemeral
collection of people legally own a copyright like this without some
sort of offical registration of members?  I'm assuming the member list
of the pacman-dev ML does not constitute the pacman team.  But if you
look at the ChangeLog for pacman2 (not even including pacman3) there
are a lot of fly-by contributors that could feel put out if they didn't
have some rights to their contributed code.

> 2) see the cvs logs, see the AUTHORS file. if that makes you happy,
> then feel free to remove me, ask Christian and Aurelien about their
> lines

The AUTHORS (or better yet, CREDITS) file should be used to list all
major contributors to a project.  That's there so we don't have to
amend the copyright headers of all the source files everytime someone
makes a contribution.  If we amended the copyright headers, then
pacman.c would probably have about 30 names at the top of it.

> stop. it was me who updated the copyright lines, this issue has
> nothing with Christian or any other developer
> > And besides, you talk about "invalid copyrights".... says who?  It
> > is completely within legal limits for an author to not be a
> > copyright holder.

Definitely.  Some projects require that any patches be submitted with a
little email stub that basically says "I give up any rights to this
work to the original copyright holder" just to avoid issues like this.
The author of the patch is still known, but he/she does not retain
copyright rights to it any longer.

> > -COPYRIGHT_HOLDER = Judd Vinet
> > +COPYRIGHT_HOLDER = Yoyodyne, Inc.
> feel free to flame me, but this is already checked in by Judd:
> $ find . -type f |xargs grep 'COPYRIGHT_HOLDER ='
> ./lib/libalpm/po/Makevars:COPYRIGHT_HOLDER = Judd Vinet
> ./src/pacman/po/Makevars:COPYRIGHT_HOLDER = Yoyodyne, Inc.
> and of course you can see, that's the default, so the story imho is
> the following:
> 1) when krix added the files to our tree, he fogot to change the
> default copyright holder
> 2) he sent here the patch
> 3) Judd corrected the copyright line
> 4) we never noticed he modified the patch we sent him
> conclusion: we never changed "Judd Vinet" to "Yoyodyne, Inc."

This kind of stuff doesn't bother me.  I'm pretty sure none of you guys
work for Yoyodyne, Inc.  :)

> yes, that's strange. i could say don't talk about this at all, because
> it's Judd and my business, definitely not your one
> maybe you don't see, but i still would like to be constructive. let's
> try to turn this endless flame thread to some positive discussion and
> let's try to find out a solution

Thank you, VMiklos.  Constructive is good.

Here are my thoughts -- all in all, I would like to retain the
copyright to pacman.  I worked hard on it for a number of years and I
think I deserve it.  With that said, people like you, Aaron, Christian,
and Aurelien certainly deserve credit for large portions of the code
and what it can do today.  This is what I want the AUTHORS file to say,
and prominently.  We can also reference it on the pacman website and in
the README file.  It is not my intention to hide the fact that I had
help with the project, because I did have a lot of help.

But if the day comes where a big decisions needs to be made that only
the copyright holder can make, I wouldn't want to be bogged down by a
game of who-wrote-what -- I think that could tear the project apart.

> 3) if you think the copyright lines in the cvs are valid, then please
> have a look at the kernel's source, there is zero "copyright 1991-2006
> Linus Torvalds" line

Again, I think the lack of Linus' name on some files is due to the
crazy modularity of the kernel.  The core kernel itself is still Linus'
baby, and as benevolent dictator, he retains the right to make
decisions governing it.  If he decides to sell the code to Microsoft,
then it may be that the ipw2200 module cannot go with it.  But the
majority of the code is under his control.

> 4) in other words, i've sent here a patch to modify those lines, you
> said the patch is not ok, then feel free to improve it. and of course
> you have the right to reject the patch, but please consider the ideas
> mentioned above before doing so

Let me take this opportunity to thank you, Christian, and the other
developers at Frugalware for your hard work on pacman.  While we are
often too busy to process your changes, we do appreciate them.  I think
pacman will grow to be much more powerful now that two strong
distributions are using it.  Look out rpm and deb/apt-get.  :)

- J

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