Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released

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Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released

Ben Bucksch
  I am missing the old section 3.3, second part, which demands that the
origin (copyright) of the MPL code is described in executable versions
and documentation. I do think it's a moral obligation to give credit to
the Mozilla authors, and MPL 1.1 made it explicit, and I want this
requirement to stay.

I think the least we can expect for our work on Mozilla is to be
credited and thanked for it.
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notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Luis Villa-5
  On 8/16/10 10:36 AM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
>  I am missing the old section 3.3, second part, which demands that the
> origin (copyright) of the MPL code is described in executable versions
> and documentation. I do think it's a moral obligation to give credit
> to the Mozilla authors, and MPL 1.1 made it explicit, and I want this
> requirement to stay.
>
> I think the least we can expect for our work on Mozilla is to be
> credited and thanked for it.
Hi, Ben-
You mean "You must include a prominent statement that the Modification
is derived, directly or indirectly, from Original Code provided by the
Initial Developer and including the name of the Initial Developer in (a)
the Source Code, and (b) in any notice in an Executable version or
related documentation in which You describe the origin or ownership of
the Covered Code." ?

I think we meant this general situation to be covered by the new 3.4:
"You may not remove or alter any valid copyright or patent notices
contained within the Source Code form of the Covered Software, or any
valid notices of licensing."

This still 'gives credit', though not as explicit as part (b) of the
language you cited (notice in executable versions or documentation.)

My personal experience is that virtually no one reads documentation, so
that any requirements pertaining to documentation don't actually do much
to help give credit. But you're right that the removal of 'notice in an
Executable version' makes the new language less forceful, and you're not
the first to mention this (it came up in the co-ment tool as well.)

Do others here have thoughts/comments/concerns about this area? We'll
take a harder look, but if others have thoughts about it, that would be
great to hear as well. Thanks.

Luis

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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Ben Bucksch
  Hey Luis, thanks for the answer. Response below.

On 19.08.2010 20:16, Luis Villa wrote:

>  On 8/16/10 10:36 AM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
>>  I am missing the old section 3.3, second part
>>
>> I think the least we can expect for our work on Mozilla is to be
>> credited and thanked for it.
> You mean "You must include a prominent statement that the Modification
> is derived, directly or indirectly, from Original Code provided by the
> Initial Developer and including the name of the Initial Developer in
> (a) the Source Code, and (b) in any notice in an Executable version or
> related documentation in which You describe the origin or ownership of
> the Covered Code." ?
>

Yes.

> I think we meant this general situation to be covered by the new 3.4:
> "You may not remove or alter any valid copyright or patent notices
> contained within the Source Code form of the Covered Software, or any
> valid notices of licensing."

I know, but that's not enough.
If I wrote the whole network library, I still wouldn't appear in the
Help | About box.
Similarly, if I take Gecko and build my own browser UI around it, I
don't remove any noticed and don't have to credit anything.

> This still 'gives credit'

Unfortunately, it does not.

The above mentioned problems didn't exist in the old wording, it was
much clearer, and had no loopholes.
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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Luis Villa-5
  On 8/19/10 5:10 PM, Ben Bucksch wrote:

> On 19.08.2010 20:16, Luis Villa wrote:
>> I think we meant this general situation to be covered by the new 3.4:
>> "You may not remove or alter any valid copyright or patent notices
>> contained within the Source Code form of the Covered Software, or any
>> valid notices of licensing."
>
> I know, but that's not enough.
> If I wrote the whole network library, I still wouldn't appear in the
> Help | About box.
> Similarly, if I take Gecko and build my own browser UI around it, I
> don't remove any noticed and don't have to credit anything.
>
>> This still 'gives credit'
>
> Unfortunately, it does not.
>
> The above mentioned problems didn't exist in the old wording, it was
> much clearer, and had no loopholes.
It actually had a pretty big loophole in practice, which is that it only
covered the Initial Developer and not later contributors. But I see your
general point.

Anyone else have thoughts/opinions on this issue?

Luis

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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Ben Bucksch
  On 20.08.2010 02:23, Luis Villa wrote:
>  On 8/19/10 5:10 PM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
>> The above mentioned problems didn't exist in the old wording, it was
>> much clearer, and had no loopholes.
> It actually had a pretty big loophole in practice, which is that it
> only covered the Initial Developer and not later contributors.

I know. But if you made substantial contributions, chances are very good
that you at some point created a new source file, in which case you are
Initial Developer (hopefully you are alert enough to put yourself in the
field). So, that wasn't too bad actually, in practice crediting major
contributors.
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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Justin Dolske-2
In reply to this post by Ben Bucksch
On 8/19/10 11:16 AM, Luis Villa wrote:

> My personal experience is that virtually no one reads documentation, so
> that any requirements pertaining to documentation don't actually do much
> to help give credit.

I pretty strongly agree with this. No one reads docs. And for a
project/software of any size, having license-required credits can easily
result in a wall of text, who wants to read that? Credits feel like an
issue orthogonal to core FOSS principles.

Justin
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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Luis Villa-5
  On 8/19/10 11:04 PM, Justin Dolske wrote:

> On 8/19/10 11:16 AM, Luis Villa wrote:
>
>> My personal experience is that virtually no one reads documentation, so
>> that any requirements pertaining to documentation don't actually do much
>> to help give credit.
>
> I pretty strongly agree with this. No one reads docs. And for a
> project/software of any size, having license-required credits can
> easily result in a wall of text, who wants to read that? Credits feel
> like an issue orthogonal to core FOSS principles.
I still remember showing my grandmother that 'wall of text' the first
time I got in one, so I wouldn't discount it altogether. It is too easy
for those of us who are lucky enough to do this full time to forget the
impact of this kind of thing on volunteers.

It may be most productive to discuss what the outcome should be when a
healthy project (with presumably good contributor recognition practices)
is forked by a third party without a community connection. Think of the
license as a mandatory minimum, designed to cover that case, while the
best practices of healthy projects would go beyond that, but not be
mandated by the license.

Luis

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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Ben Bucksch
In reply to this post by Justin Dolske-2
  On 20.08.2010 16:25, Luis Villa wrote:
> I still remember showing my grandmother that 'wall of text' the first
> time I got in one, so I wouldn't discount it altogether. It is too
> easy for those of us who are lucky enough to do this full time to
> forget the impact of this kind of thing on volunteers.

Indeed.

> It may be most productive to discuss what the outcome should be when a
> healthy project (with presumably good contributor recognition
> practices) is forked by a third party without a community connection.

If I create a new UI around Gecko, the 95% majority of my product is
still Gecko, so I think Mozilla contributors have to be credited fully.
Same for Seamonkey, Camino, KMeleon etc.pp..

I agree about the documentation (as in: end user manual), it's pointless
and technically hard to put the credits there.

Ben
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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

timeless-3
In reply to this post by Ben Bucksch
On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 3:32 AM, Ben Bucksch
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> I know. But if you made substantial contributions, chances are very good
> that you at some point created a new source file, in which case you are
> Initial Developer (hopefully you are alert enough to put yourself in the
> field).

FWIW, I looked once, and afaict, I am one of the rare devs who hadn't
created a file that was credited anywhere.

It's possible that this is because:
* I don't like leaving my name in files.
* I merely cannibalized existing files (nsDeque is mine but the file
name existed before me).
* I've had an employer for most of my 10 years I just haven't created
files that weren't my employer's.

> So, that wasn't too bad actually, in practice crediting major contributors.

Other than shorting me, I don't think it's very bad.
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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

timeless-3
In reply to this post by Luis Villa-5
On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 5:25 PM, Luis Villa <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I still remember showing my grandmother that 'wall of text' the first time I
> got in one, so I wouldn't discount it altogether.

I do like that, I seem to recall occasionally having relatives mention
seeing me in credits in places. It is a nice feeling.

> It is too easy for those
> of us who are lucky enough to do this full time to forget the impact of this
> kind of thing on volunteers.

> It may be most productive to discuss what the outcome should be when a
> healthy project (with presumably good contributor recognition practices) is
> forked by a third party without a community connection.

This is actually an interesting part, one of my happiest bits is that
I'm in credits for Apple's products because Hyatt copied a pair of
files from mozilla to webkit and I had touched them.

> Think of the license as a mandatory minimum, designed to cover that case,
> while the best practices of healthy projects would go beyond that, but not
> be mandated by the license.
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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Benjamin Smedberg
In reply to this post by Ben Bucksch
On 8/19/10 2:16 PM, Luis Villa wrote:

> This still 'gives credit', though not as explicit as part (b) of the
> language you cited (notice in executable versions or documentation.)
>
> My personal experience is that virtually no one reads documentation, so that
> any requirements pertaining to documentation don't actually do much to help
> give credit. But you're right that the removal of 'notice in an Executable
> version' makes the new language less forceful, and you're not the first to
> mention this (it came up in the co-ment tool as well.)
>
> Do others here have thoughts/comments/concerns about this area? We'll take a
> harder look, but if others have thoughts about it, that would be great to
> hear as well. Thanks.

This whole discussion has focused on "giving credit", which I think is
misguided.

I understand that people who create software really want to be acknowledged:
it feels good to know that your code is part of products, and it looks good
to family, friends, and potential employers. But the associated costs are
that people who do release software have to either have to maintain drastic
change-control practices in order to keep the MPL credits list up to date,
or risk accidentally violating the license terms while forgetting somebody.
I don't think that is a price we should be enforcing at the license level.

There are other issues, of course: the license could require that you credit
all *copyright holders*, but then most of our core contributors would not be
given individual credit, because they work for Mozilla or other entities
which own their copyright.

I think the more interesting question here is whether we should be able to
identify all the copyright holders for a particular piece of code. As far as
I can tell, that was the original reason for listing "Contributors" in the
MPL 1.1 header, so that you could go back later and know exactly who has a
copyright interest in that code. I think it's much more important for the
MPL 1.2 effort to decide whether this is an important goal or not.

Leave "credit" to the community, who can choose to credit individuals or
copyright owners (or not, as long as the license makes the source code
available), and can also choose to credit important non-code contributors. A
license is a poor tool for trying to demand and control credit, which is
primarily a social issue.

--BDS
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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Luis Villa-5
  On 8/23/10 6:50 AM, Benjamin Smedberg wrote:
>
> I think the more interesting question here is whether we should be
> able to identify all the copyright holders for a particular piece of
> code. As far as I can tell, that was the original reason for listing
> "Contributors" in the MPL 1.1 header, so that you could go back later
> and know exactly who has a copyright interest in that code. I think
> it's much more important for the MPL 1.2 effort to decide whether this
> is an important goal or not.
For what it is worth, I think on this particular point there seems to be
some consensus that:

1) This language in the MPL 1.1 did not achieve the goal of identifying
all the copyright holders for a given piece of code; we have hard data
showing that a large number of small-c contributors ended up never
listed as Contributors. (I believe I sent links to that effect to the
list; please poke if you need me to resend.)

2) Modern development practices (better revision control systems,
contributor agreements, and source code search tools, primarily) do a
better job of this now, making it less important to have in the license.

Luis

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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Ben Bucksch
In reply to this post by Benjamin Smedberg
  On 23.08.2010 15:50, Benjamin Smedberg wrote:
> I understand that people who create software really want to be
> acknowledged: it feels good to know that your code is part of
> products, and it looks good to family, friends, and potential employers.


> But the associated costs are that people who do release software have
> to either have to maintain drastic change-control practices in order
> to keep the MPL credits list up to date

I've done it myself, when I released Beonex. You just need to gather the
Initial Developer and Contributor lines, and basically run sort|uniq on
them. You'll get a few dups with " Inc" vs. ", Inc" etc., but that's
easily fixed in script or source. It can be automated. I created and ran
a few scripts myself.

> Leave "credit" to the community

Unfortunately, community failed. For example, although I work for and on
and around Mozilla full-time since over 10 years, and am an Initial
Developer, e.g. of netwerk/ code, and there's a long list of people
scrolled by in Firefox About, I am not among them. Now, you may argue I
should not be in the list. Community can fail.

I do not want to rely on the project owner de jour to decide whether he
thinks my authorship is relevant or his own contributions are more
important. I think that's an understandable concern.

In general, I think the authors of the code must be prominently credited
towards end-users, no matter who creates the UI or binary, be it Firefox
or Google Chrome based on Gecko - that's why most open-source licenses
*do* have a credits clause.

I am happy with the MPL 1.1 clause, I think it was very well formulated
as-is, and I don't see why I should give up my guaranteed rights.

Ben
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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

timeless-3
In reply to this post by Luis Villa-5
On Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 6:38 PM, Luis Villa <[hidden email]> wrote:
> (I believe I sent links to that effect to the list; please
> poke if you need me to resend.)

You did, under:
hard data on when committers list themselves as Contributors [was Re:
What "notification" means to me]
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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Luis Villa-5
  On 8/23/10 4:43 PM, timeless wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 6:38 PM, Luis Villa<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>> (I believe I sent links to that effect to the list; please
>> poke if you need me to resend.)
> You did, under:
> hard data on when committers list themselves as Contributors [was Re:
> What "notification" means to me]
Note that the link in that email is now busted; see
http://turingmachine.org/~dmg/papers/dmg2009_wcreAuthors.pdf

for a better link.

Luis

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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Gervase Markham
In reply to this post by Ben Bucksch
On 23/08/10 21:23, Ben Bucksch wrote:
> Unfortunately, community failed. For example, although I work for and on
> and around Mozilla full-time since over 10 years, and am an Initial
> Developer, e.g. of netwerk/ code, and there's a long list of people
> scrolled by in Firefox About, I am not among them. Now, you may argue I
> should not be in the list. Community can fail.

That list is not supposed to be a list of everyone who has ever worked
on Mozilla code. It's a list of people who have made a significant
contribution to that particular release and, as such, people get added
to it and removed from it at the end of each product cycle.

about:credits _is_ that list of everyone, and you are on it - and have
been since Tue May 2 19:13:48 2000 PDT, over 10 years ago. A link to
that page is the first thing you see when you click "Credits" in the
About box of Firefox 4.

> In general, I think the authors of the code must be prominently credited
> towards end-users, no matter who creates the UI or binary, be it Firefox
> or Google Chrome based on Gecko - that's why most open-source licenses
> *do* have a credits clause.

Depending on exactly what you mean by "a credits clause", I don't think
that's true.

The GPL3 requires the publication of appropriate copyright notices on
the code (section 4). Apache requires their preservation (section 4.3).
BSD requires their preservation, and placement in documentation. MIT
requires their preservation in "the Software". The MPL 2.0 requires
their preservation (section 3.4) and allows their addition (section 11).

No-one has a "you have to put my name in the About box" clause. The
closest is Apache 2 section 4.4, but even that allows the NOTICE file to
be a text file on disk, unreferenced in the UI.

Gerv

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Re: notification requirements [was Re: MPL Alpha 1 Draft Released]

Gervase Markham
In reply to this post by Luis Villa-5
On 20/08/10 01:10, Ben Bucksch wrote:
> If I wrote the whole network library, I still wouldn't appear in the
> Help | About box.

If the network library were under the MPL 1.1, you couldn't require this
either.

Gerv
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