[Geany-devel] AUTHORS && THANKS files

Matthew Brush mbrush at xxxxx
Sat Sep 24 04:03:23 UTC 2011

On 09/23/2011 06:40 PM, Lex Trotman wrote:
> Hi Matthew,
> As threatened...

Heh, thanks, they're good details that confirm what I've observed from 
various other projects.

>> I was just looking at these files for some reason [...]
> I suspect that these files are rather confused due to lack of love.
> IMHO if these are not going to be kept up to date they better be
> deleted.

Given the other information you provided, I'd say, at least after the 
Git switch that the AUTHORS (and COMMITTERS) files should just be 
generated from git log for tarballs.  If someone just provides a plain 
diff for a patch, you can still set the author to them (not sure can SVN 
do this?).  If they send a pull request/git format-patch it's automatic.

> If they are going to be kept up to date, now before release is the
> time.  IMHO thanks should be *everyone* [1].

Seems to make sense, though it could be a pain.  IMO, the bug number 
that's currently used (I think) is enough for bug/feature tracker stuff. 
  Otherwise, you'd have a lot of these in the THANKS file:

Anonymous <http://accounts.google.com> - reported some bug
Anonymous <no known email address> - requested some feature

>> On a similar topic, I noticed in the source files, on top of the license in
>> the comments, some files list Nick and Enrico as the copyright holders, some
>> [...]

> Copyright assignment is used by some projects but as you say there
> needs to be a legal entity to receive it.  And what country would this
> legal entity exist in? Who would own it and how wold it be run and
> paid for. And legal paperwork is needed for contributions, including
> employer disclaimer (to prove they don't own the software you write).
> All in all Noooooooo.

For Geany I would've said the project lead/maintainer with the 
copyrights getting transferred when the person filling that role 
changes.  But yeah, way too much hassle for all the legal requirements.

> Copyright law isn't uniform around the world, but I have been advised
> that the most common is that:
> 1. the originator has copyright whether they want it or not, and
> usually automatically without having to claim it

Which means just having a proper VCS log (with proper author) would be 
enough to track all the bits and pieces of who owns copyright on what? 
Seems like that would be better than listing every single copyright info 
for everyone who ever changed the file.  If the ChangeLog is generated 
from the VCS log, IIUC it will have all the required info for tarballs.

>> Also, if someone contributes a significant amount of code to one or more
>> files, does that mean they hand-over the copyright of that code to one (or
>> maybe all?) of those people listed in the various file headers?
> Too complex, and who?

Ok, just was curious whether the act of submitting code to the Geany 
project implicitly signed over copyright.  I guess it doesn't work like 
that :)

Thanks again!

Matthew Brush

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