FSF's distribution policies was: Drift between libgmp and gpg's version

Simon Weijgers simon at weijgers.com
Tue Dec 7 23:52:34 CET 1999

> Hash: SHA1
> * Anand Kumria <wildfire at progsoc.uts.edu.au>  on Mon, 04 Oct 1999
> | No, the copyright on gmp has been assigned to the FSF. The patches you
> | mention have not had their copyirhgt assigned to the FSF; but that is
> | not the reason that have not been incorporated into GMP.
> But it is a reason not to incorporate them into GPG.  Look at the rights
> fiasco that is XEmacs some time.  There is code in there that nobody knows
> who owns anymore.

To my knowledege the same holds true for Linux, but I never hear anyone
whine about that on the linux kernel mailinglist. I mean I'm pretty sure
hundreds of >10(*) line patches made it into the kernel and assuming
nobody accurately logged who contributed what patch you could say there
is lots of code in the Linux kernel ``nobody knows who owns anymore''.
Which makes me wonder why it IS a problem for XEmaxs and not for the Linux

(*) which is the rather arbitrary `treshold' the fsf is using.

    ``A change of ten lines or so, or a few such changes, in a large
    program is not significant.

    Before incorporating significant changes, make sure that person has
    signed copyright papers and that the
    Free Software Foundation has received and signed them.''
    -- http://www.fsf.org/prep/maintain_3.html#SEC3

Note the ``or so''.

Yeah I know quite offtopic, but I'm rather curious of what the legal
consequences are of not knowing who owns what code as well the rather 
arbitrary >10 `rule'. Is that figure based on something like a prior
ruling? And what would be the consequences for example if a judge
were to disagree with that figure?


Simon Weijgers

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