[openstack-dev] [all] Proposal: copyright-holders file in each project, or copyright holding forced to the OpenStack Foundation

Thomas Goirand zigo at debian.org
Fri Jan 15 12:48:21 UTC 2016

This isn't the first time I'm calling for it. Let's hope this time, I'll
be heard.

Randomly, contributors put their company names into source code. When
they do, then effectively, this tells that a given source file copyright
holder is whatever is claimed, even though someone from another company
may have patched it.

As a result, we have a huge mess. It's impossible for me, as a package
maintainer, to accurately set the copyright holder names in the
debian/copyright file, which is a required by the Debian FTP masters.

I see 2 ways forward:
1/ Require everyone to give-up copyright holding, and give it to the
OpenStack Foundation.
2/ Maintain a copyright-holder file in each project.

The later is needed if we want to do things correctly. Leaving the
possibility for everyone to just write (c) MyCompany LLC randomly in the
source code doesn't cut it. Expecting that a package maintainer should
double-guess copyright holding just by reading the email addresses of
"git log" output doesn't work either.

Please remember that a copyright holder has nothing to do with the
license, neither with the author of some code. So please do *not* take
over this thread, and discuss authorship or licensing.

Whatever we choose, I think we should ban having copyright holding text
within our source code. While licensing is a good idea, as it is
accurate, the copyright holding information isn't and it's just missleading.

If I was the only person to choose, I'd say let's go for 1/, but
probably managers of every company wont agree.

Some thoughts anyone?


Thomas Goirand (zigo)

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