What about the trivial submitters?
Posted May 24, 2004 12:00 UTC (Mon) by Duncan
In reply to: Not easier
Parent article: Linus on documenting patch provenance
> It's not really a lot more paperwork [because]
> each contributor would do paperwork only one time[.]
Perhaps it /would/ be done only once per person-job. That doesn't
eliminate the problem, however.
Why? Because what we've then done is make it impossible for an individual
to point to a problem and provide even a one-changed character patch (in
the event of a detected typo, say), for the first and possibly last time
in his life.
There are a lot of this type of "trivial" submitters around. People who
know C but don't really know the kernel. However, they use a driver that
doesn't work, or quits working, take a look at the code, and despite not
knowing much about the kernel, see something obvious and provide a bug
report together with a patch that "works for them." Then they go on about
their normal life, leaving the driver maintainer to check the patch, see
that it is indeed a typo affecting a corner case that nobody ever caught
before, and apply it.
What we are now suggesting is that said "trivial" submitters could no
longer submit anything, until they jumped thru a bunch of legal paperwork,
that isn't really worth it for that one character.
That's obviously an extreme example, but make it a 10-line change instead
of single character change, and it's a significant amount of people over
the course of a year, I'd guess.
Of course, not having assigned copyright does therefore make it
essentially impossible to ever change the license to the kernel in
general, because it's going to be impossible to find all those <= 10-line
submitters from over the years, but that's actually part of the object --
a practical guarantee that the kernel license can never and will never
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