Bonum Certa Men Certa

It Remains Largely Unclear Whose Idea It Was to Change GCC Copyright Assignment Practices (or How/Why It Started)

Video download link



Summary: Coders who merge their work into the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) will no longer assign or surrender copyrights to the Free Software Foundation; it would be worth finding out how this outcome was reached and why as there's lack of clarity on this

YESTERDAY there was a new release of GCC. Shortly after the release was announced we saw reports about the FSF loosening the Copyright Assignment (CA) requirements long imposed -- to use a relatively harsh term -- on GCC contributors. Why did this happen? Whose idea was it? We doubt the FSF just did this on its own volition. Was there pressure from the anti-RMS petitioners? Notice how many of them are from IBM and how many in that petition work on GCC. The corporate affiliation (employer) isn't mentioned, but about a third of them were -- and still are -- IBM employees. IBM's motivations and covert objectives are suspicious for a number of reasons (as mentioned in the video above).



Copyright symbolThe video above discusses what this situation means, but it remains uncertain how that came about. We're not being told anything about the behind-the-scenes story. It's not even clear whose decision it was (there are mutually-contradicting framings; some say the FSF did it, whereas some/most claim GCC did it). Maybe some meeting minutes can elucidate this whole thing. Maybe there's already sufficient transparency to explain this, but currently the articles on this matter don't go that deep.

"Clarity on this issue isn't 'small potatoes' because it may represent a 'soft coup' or constitute another (new) wave of attempts to dethrone/weaken the FSF and take power (software freedom) away from Free software users/developers."For completeness, all the links from the video are listed here -- a page that will expand over time as new information arrives (we expect more material and investigations/follow-ups to come). Clarity on this issue isn't 'small potatoes' because it may represent a 'soft coup' or constitute another (new) wave of attempts to dethrone/weaken the FSF and take power (software freedom) away from Free software users/developers.

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