FSFE Newsletter - February 2014

Matija Šuklje hook at fsfe.org
Mon Mar 3 13:30:01 UTC 2014


first of all I’m sorry for the late reply. I was battling with a persistent 
flu for two weeks now.

Die 16. 02. 14 et hora 00:24:46 Heiki Repentinus Ojasild scripsit:
> On 15/02/14 17:06, Florian Weimer wrote:
> > This is a complicated topic.  I don't understand why the FSFE is
> > against CLAs, considering that it granted permissions to use FLA code
> > in proprietary programs (see the previous discussion about the
> > agreement with Bacula Systems—the published agreement is not even
> > restricted to Bacula code).
> This is indeed a complicated topic. FSFE is not against CLAs in general,
> but some (like Canonical's) in particular.

The issue is bigger with CA [Copyright Assignments], because the contributors 
assign *all* their rights to the entity and often retain (actually get 
assigned back) very little power over their own work. That is exactly why we 
wrote the FLA [Fiduciary License Agreement] – to create a balance between the 
entity/copyright holder and the contributors.

This is clearly stated in FLA’s text itself, but if there is any clarification 
needed, *please do let me know* , so we can improve the text in the future 

I’ve also given a lightning talk on how FLA works on:


Going back to the question of CLA – as Heiki mentioned, we don’t have an issue 
with them in general, as they are usually just about which license your work 
will be released under.

> The resolution of the Bacula systems was the least of many evils. We are
> not particularly happy about the outcome in this case, but the choices
> were not all that great to begin with.

Exactly. The only reason why Bacula is able to pull off the proprietary 
version is that parallel to the FLA assigning the right to FSFE, all the 
contributors also signed a CA to Kern. The FLA does give the contributors 
(“beneficiaries” in the FLA text) the right to release their own work under 
*any* license, even proprietary. That is a concious decision, so contributors 
do not lose any rights when signing the FLA. Since the developers agreed in 
the CA with having their work included in a proprietary version, there is 
nothing we can do about it. What we did negotiate though is to have all the 
fixes and new features from the proprietary version released into the FS 
community version in due time.

Bacula was also mentioned in the following FLA talk at FOSDEM, if that is of 


Legal Coordinator & Coordinator Slovenia
Free Software Foundation Europe
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