[Ilugc] Employee Agreement of a FOSS company

Kenneth Gonsalves lawgon at thenilgiris.com
Fri Dec 5 17:06:31 IST 2008

On Friday 05 Dec 2008 4:42:55 pm Steve wrote:
> I have to admit, I find this discussion a bit amusing. It's like a lot of
> high nosed psudeo-intellectual talk without any real substance. Anyway,
> here is why I thing so:
> a. Kenneth's assertion that an open source company "will not last for more
> than 5 minutes. " is based on the premise that in an open source company,
> is one where all the code produce ought to be open souced, in which case
> "neither the employer nor the employee get anything out of the code in
> terms of IPR." ....but that's the fallacy. Firstly, open source companies
> like Red Hat, don't make money out of their *IPR* (whatever that is
> supposed to mean). Secondly, I don't see why every bit of code that a
> company produced should be open sourced to qualify it as an open source
> company. Isn't it sufficient to open source every bit of code for every
> binary bit that the company distributes in the open ? ...I believe Red Hat
> does this.

first define what is a FOSS company - only then start sneering at the way 
others have tried to approach the problem. I freely admit I was wrong about 
the 5 minute thingie. I was under the wrong impression that all Redhat did 
was package code written by others - and am very impressed with the cygnus 
story. Obviously there is a business model where one writes/modifies code for 
someone and insists that it is open sourced. And obviously the company that 
produces the said code would be the first choice to enhance/maintain it. 
Strangely enough I have been following that model - although my business has 
always been part time. So far none of my clients have given a RF about 
whether the code is open sourced or not - all they care about is that it 

> b. NDAs do not apply just to code. As an ex-Red Hat employee, i remember
> signing a contract where some of the terms of agreement did sound like
> limiting the extent to which i could communicate things that were
> considered as company confidential, but none of these IIRC had anything to
> do with source code. Does that make the Red Hat contract a freedom-crushing
> NDA ? I didn't think so.

who is claiming that they are freedom crushing? We were just asking what the 
going practice was
> c. Does it really matter who owns the copyright of an open souce code base
> ? really, think about it ...in practical terms, what are you (as an
> individual) do with copyright ? If something is GPLed, and you disagree
> with your company, you quit and fork ...you own the copyright of the fork.
> If copyright needs to be asserted (for example in the court), I'd rather
> have my company do it for me, that fight it out myself. Isn't that why even
> the FSF requests copyright assignment ?

it doesnt matter to you - but we high nosed pseudo intellectuals have an 
insatiable curiosity about totally trivial and irrelevant things.
> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-assign.html

GPL is only a subsection of FOSS licenses - and quoting from the scriptures is 
not the correct way of proving a point.
> ...how is that different than a for profit company requesting the same ?

there are some who argue that the GPL is also a license that restricts 
freedom - and that the BSD license is the really free one.
> gah ! like I said, this thread is trying too hard to be deeply
> intellectual, but it isn't.

it isnt - the whole thread has been mainly requests for information on 
procedures being followed along with information on the same. As I mentioned 
above it is what we pseudos do, it is our thing - so if you dont like it, or 
cannot understand it ...


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