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50 votes
Accepted

How to deal with contributors who write very bad quality code?

Define objective criteria that any contribution must fulfill. Automate checks for these criteria, using unit tests, linters, code coverage tools, …, then automatically run these checks for each PR as ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39.1k
44 votes
Accepted

Is it legal for the author of an open source project to remove history of contributors' commits?

Nearly all free software licences require the preservation of existing copyright notices. If the author of a piece of GPLv3 software accepted your modified version, then since this code had to be ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.6k
42 votes
Accepted

Is it legal to have the "// (c) 2019 John Smith" header in all files when there are hundreds of contributors?

As far as I am aware, all FLOSS licenses that deal with copyright notices only require the preservation of notices that exist. Each author had the opportunity to add their own name to header when they ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.3k
33 votes
Accepted

How do I become a regular contributor to GitHub FOSS projects?

what is the best way to go about being an active, influential FOSS contributor? The two goals I bolded that you seem to be asking about are quite different. Many open source projects start because ...
D. SM's user avatar
  • 1,896
21 votes

What are the benefits of having a benevolent dictator for life (BDFL) on OSS?

I would say that projects having a BDFL ultimately trust the vision of the project to one person, as opposed to design by committee. You can refer to the list of BDFLs. Many of the individuals listed ...
D. SM's user avatar
  • 1,896
20 votes
Accepted

What are the benefits of having a benevolent dictator for life (BDFL) on OSS?

I've always seen the BDFL model as halfway between a traditional open-source project structure and a traditional corporate project structure. You have the openness, transparency, and general culture ...
bta's user avatar
  • 921
19 votes

How do I become a regular contributor to GitHub FOSS projects?

Most FLOSS projects are a kind of meritocracy: those who contribute(d) a lot, they have a say. The well-known projects are not new projects and especially the maintainers often work on them for many ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
17 votes

Contributing as a company

There are two issues here: Managing copyright and licensing of the company's contributions in a legally rigorous way, including corporate agreement to the project's CLA, if any. The use of a single ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.3k
17 votes

Implicit licensing when contributing to an open source project

In my understanding, my claims are completely baseless, because the moment I submitted the PR, I implicitly licensed my changes under MIT, because that is the license of the project. Is this the ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

How to prevent contributors from claiming copyright on my LGPL-released software?

This is a legitimate issue that's come up various times in the past on various open source projects. The way it's typically handled is by not accepting external contributions into your repository ...
Mason Wheeler's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Do Contributors Own Copyright After Sending Contributions?

The common understanding is to consider that contributions are made under the same license as the project these are contributed to (unless stated otherwise). On GitHub, this is made explicit in the ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Authors and contributors of forked project

Should I list myself as author, and original author as contributor? Or should I somehow refer to the company in general? Or it is legal to only mention myself here (and leave the reference to ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.6k
14 votes

How to prevent contributors from claiming copyright on my LGPL-released software?

We have run into this problem in libpng. We addressed it by putting any contributions that insist on keeping their own copyright, or are under a different open source license, into a "contrib" ...
Glenn Randers-Pehrson's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

What should I do if maintainers are unresponsive/how can I become a maintainer?

The primary way to contribute is by pull requests, just like you said. If your pull requests aren't accepted and you do not get any comments the project might as well be abandoned. In this case I ...
jgauffin's user avatar
  • 441
14 votes

How do I become a regular contributor to GitHub FOSS projects?

Be more of a team player. Comments like There's always an "in" group that's running things about how the project works and aren't accepting of new ideas and innovations even if they are backed up ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between contributor, member and collaborator?

Contributors Git (in a git repository) identifies authors and committers by email address. Github users can associate email addresses with their accounts. When a user's set of email addresses is found ...
D. SM's user avatar
  • 1,896
10 votes

How can i grow my open source project?

I think your question boils down to "How can I market my WidgetMaker5000 with zero budget?". It's not easy, but it can be done. Build something useful. Nothing else you do will matter if your ...
RubberDuck's user avatar
  • 5,466
10 votes
Accepted

How can i grow my open source project?

I am an open source contributor to more than one projects. Why do I contribute to a project? Because I have used that project in some way and I feel that I should be a contributor I have used the ...
Ranveer's user avatar
  • 643
10 votes

Implicit licensing when contributing to an open source project

I rather thought this would be a duplicate question, but I can't currently find anything that fits exactly. Outbound=inbound is a traditional custom and practice in the free-software community, but it'...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.6k
9 votes
Accepted

When to list contributors

I think it matters, and everyone should be listed, and I think the reasons are almost entirely moral. Limiting the list to the core team fails to acknowledge major contributors. Leaving contributors ...
Paul Beckingham's user avatar
9 votes

How do I (a beginner) find a bug in a project on Github?

The most useful open source contributions come from people who actually use the project they are contributing to. So I'd suggest to you first, to use free software as often as possible, and possibly ...
Zimm i48's user avatar
  • 5,597
8 votes
Accepted

Method for accounting for non-code contributions?

I'm not aware of any hard metrics that can be used to automatically count non-code contributions (and I'm not sure there could be one) but I do know about projects that (1) survey contribution types ...
waldyrious's user avatar
8 votes

How do I become a regular contributor to GitHub FOSS projects?

I'm a maintainer in various projects in GitHub with ~50 million weekly downloads but I am one person and can only share what worked for me. Persistence. The number one mistake I see people get is ...
Benjamin Gruenbaum's user avatar
8 votes

Contributing as a company

The author of a work and the copyright holder of the work don't need to be the same entity. An example of this is music - a song is written by an artist, but the copyright on it may be held by a ...
D. SM's user avatar
  • 1,896
7 votes
Accepted

Can a LGPL project use contributed code after the original contributor withdrew it and was banned from the project?

There doesn't seem to be a copyright violation here. The code was pretty clearly released under the LGPL, and open source licenses are (almost certainly) irrevocable; it doesn't matter that the patch ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

How to approach being blocked from a repository you use and contributed to?

Forking is always an option in open source environments, and does not hurt. On platforms like GitHub it's actually the preferred way to create a pull request by uploading your own repository with the ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
7 votes

How should I store contributor info ethically and practically?

It's good to have a thriving community. I'd advocate option D: Maintain a detailed readme file in the repository with a credits section, or a separate credits section with the contributors nickname in ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
7 votes

Apache 2.0 and patent grant to the code not related to the contribution

Does such a contribution give a license grant to the patent? No. The license grant is expressly limited to those patent claims licensable by such Contributor that are necessarily infringed by their ...
John Bollinger's user avatar
6 votes

Is a CLA only useful for copyleft licensed?

This is best answered by people who distribute a software under MIT license and require their contributors to sign a CLA. For instance, Github Inc. distributes linguist under MIT but still requires ...
Zimm i48's user avatar
  • 5,597
6 votes
Accepted

Do I still own code I donated to GPL project?

It depends. Did you sign a Contributors License Agreement? These agreements usually clarify if the contributor keeps their copyright and just licenses the code to the project or if the contributor ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 12k

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