[Project_owners] New Adoption Policy proposal

Michael Vincent van Rantwijk, MultiZilla mv_van_rantwijk at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 13 09:10:37 PDT 2007

Scott wrote:
> Hello project developers,
> The thread is the start of a new Adoption Policy proposal on MozDev.
> The current Adoption Policy is more of a informal one and I am proposing
> a formal one that will eliminate the following problems with the current
> policy... the main issue at hand is that currently if a project owner
> has stopped doing any work on there project they have indefinite rights
> to keep ownership, even if others have made contributions in any fashion
> to keep the addon working, EG; attachments made to existing un-answered bugs

This is the way Open Source works, and should work IMHO i.e. the 
original project owner is and stays the owner, whatever you did to help 
your community.

The thing is that you can't claim copyrights of any given project that 
stalled for whatever reason, but you have the right to fork a given 
project; but you need to make that clear to a) the original project 
owner (who in almost all cases on mozdev.org is the sole developer) and 
b) to your users.

Anyone willing to fork a project should be aware of the possibility that 
real life events like health, work or even a new relation ship might 
take the project owner off-line from their public appearance on 
mozdev.org, and sometimes for months... like what happened with my dad 
year after year ever since 2001 with the MultiZilla project.

Let's take the MultiZilla project as an example where I work as "Project 
Team Lead" (see sig) but my father stays the "Project Owner".  One 
doesn't have to become the "project owner" you know, yet I can do 
whatever necessary for the project... because people trust me... after 
they have learned to know me over time; and I can assure you that this 
is very important.

But what if it wasn't me, but someone we don't know?  Someone with cruel 
intentions to hurt the project, project owner et all?  Who is to blame, 
legally if you want, if something bad happens to/with a given project?

Giving people CVS access and letting them work as a developer/team 
member might be fine, a good deal for all parties involved, but with 
caution because of the for mentioned possibility.

Someone should probably also check and review, super review if you like, 
all of your work before it ends up in any public release (We was lucky 
with Philip Chee with this).

However, becoming the new/sole project owner should be considered 
something completely different; and the main reason for this is that you 
might be credited for something you shouldn't get the credits for (like 
for example the idiot who bought a car in my fathers name, because the 
idiot learned that he would be gone for months).

Being the project owner won't bring you anything... but responsibilities 
which you still have to proof over time. However, it is fine when the 
original/sole project owner sends in his waiver of approval... because 
he alone is the legal owner of it.

But let me ask you this: "Why do you need to become the project owner in 
the first place, if you can work on any given Open Source project 
*without* the legal responsibilities that come along with it?"

Note: Helping the original project owner might be more rewarding afterwards.

Michael Vincent van Rantwijk
- MultiZilla Project Team Lead
- XUL Boot Camp Staff member
- iPhone Application Developer

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