Subject: Re: The NetBSD developers agreement
To: None <>
From: Stefan Bozhilov <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 09/04/2006 10:16:28
>Martin Husemann <> wrote: On Sun,
>Sep 03, 2006 at 03:35:20PM -0700, Stefan Bozhilov
>> Individual developers should sign NDAs and the
>> Foundation can provide assistance, but it should
>> be a side in the agreement.
>This is not always a sensible. Part of the non
>disclosure is that I can
>not quote the realy good examples (which did a great
>service to the comunity,
>but required TNF signing a contract, not all
>developers involved).
>And you wouldn't want to be part of board (or a CEO
in >a commercial entitiy)
>signing any agreement if you have to take
>responsibility for all the actions
>of all developers, which in turn do not have any
>liability to your legal
>entity. This is all common sense, nothing vile,
>nothing specatacular

 Your statement holds the key to understanding the
problem of NetBSD. It stems from mixing the open
project with one of its commercial contributors. 
 If someone requires an NDA with all legal bells and
whistles he can turn to a commercial company, not to
the Foundation. For example, the maker of some gizmo
can release info to Red Hat under an NDA. I like that,
the community gets a driver for the gizmo, the
business gets to sell more of it, etc. But Red Hat is
only one of the kernel contributors (and users). The
kernel team is never tied up in legal mumbo jumbo.
 Even with its encumbered license, Linux is used for
profit by a number of companies. They take the kernel
as a licensed gift and and they may contribute other
similarly licensed gifts. The the kernel developers
remain independent. 
 This is not the case with NetBSD. The developers
agreement is one of a commercial entity, not of an
open project.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for
business use of open source. I do not accuse anyone of
being "spectacular anti-open-source". On the contrary,
I appreciate the work being done and don't what to
disrupt it. The largest problem of NetBSD is one of
misrepresentation - a commercial entity that would be
a perfectly acceptable  contributor is posing as the
whole Project. To me this is bizarre. I don't think
this charade makes any business sense to begin with.
Red Hat, IBM and many others are happily making money
without pretending that they are altruistic,
non-profit organizations.
 The conclusion I think is clear - there is a need for
another project with different rules and a clear
vision. The current project would make a respected and
valuable contributor - one of many, I hope.
 Best Regards,

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