|Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Apple crimes
Quoting Ruben Safir (mrbrklyn-at-panix.com):
Seems to be yet another overwrought polemics piece that doesn't bother
to clarify what epiphenomena it's talking about.
Apple is said to be "blocking contributions to GCC"
Immediately, I start a moderate suspicion about possible bullshit, as
the term 'blocking contributions' seems either strategically vague or
incompetently vague. (Not everyone is obliged to know how to write a
comprehensible news story, but if you cannot do that but purport to
publish news, you have a problem.)
A couple of paragraphs down is a pull quote from the claimed source,
Phoronix. Fine, let's follow the link and try there, as it seems less
likely to be a waste of time trying to get specifics.
Is Apple Now Blocking Contributions To GCC?
Ah, so the upstream article's question becomes, in techrights.org
founder / chief cook / bottle washer Dr. Roy Schestowitz's retelling, a
statement. Noted in passing.
Even though Apple's modified GCC sources still reflect the FSF as the
copyright holder and are licensed under the GNU GPLv2+, it doesn't look
like Apple wants their compiler work going back upstream any longer.
Why are Apple, Inc's _wants_ newsworthy? One hopes there is more to
Chris Lattner, who is Apple's chief architect of their compiler group
and also the lead developer of LLVM and Clang, came out to say that
whatever Apple pushes to their GCC branch on the Free Software
Foundation's servers they should be able to pull upstream, but not code
that's found within the open-source GCC hosted by Apple on OpenDarwin or
anywhere else. Or GCC code that's found within LLVM-GCC.
Phoronix author Michael Larabel is kind enough to link to Chris
Lattner's post, http://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2010-09/msg00120.html
Quoting the relevant passage:
Be aware that none of the changes that haven't been committed to the
FSF trees are copyright-assigned to the FSF. In practice, since the FSF
cares about copyright assignment, this probably means that you can
probably merge whatever is in the apple branch on the FSF server, but
you can't take things out of llvm-gcc or the apple gcc tarballs that get
pushed out on opendarwin.
Which solves the mystery: Phoronix author Michael Larabel badly
misinterpreted what Chris Lattner wrote. The key phrase in Lattner's
post is 'since the FSF cares about copyright assignment'.
Do you REALLY not get this, Ruben? Or, is the problem that you just
knee-jerked on this apparent idiot Schestowitz's editorialising without
bothering to check the underlying facts.
I would have _thought_ that you understood FSF policy on code
contributions. In case you might not, I'll spell this out for you:
FSF merges code contributions made to GNU codebases _only_ if the author
writes out an assignment of copyright ownership over the code fragment,
reassigning ownership to FSF. This policy has the practical effect of
ensuring that FSF is 100% copyright owner of the main tree of all GNU
codebases. An outside entity such as Apple, Inc. and its employees is,
like everyone else, entitled to create derivative works of FSF codebases
such as GCC, whose recent versions have all been under GNU GPL v3. All
redistribution of derivative works needs to be available to all
recipients under GNU GPL v3, else the redistributor would be commiting
copyright infringement against FSF as to the borrowed GCC code.
FSF's policy differs from, for example, that of the Linux kernel projet,
where contributors are asked only to provide an affidavit identifying
themselves and attesting to be contributing work they're legally
entitled to contribute. The Linux kernel people do _not_ ask for
copyright assignment of ownership on contributed patches, with the
results that hundreds of contributors have a joint copyright interest in
the kernel, rather than just one owner (e.g., Torvalds).
Under the facts presented, not at all surprisingly, Apple, Inc. is doing
all of that per the licence terms (or at least, nobody is claiming
otherwise, and they've been doing it right for long decades now).
What Lattner _said_ was that (paraphrased) 'Apple, Inc. has not to date
sent FSF a copyright assignment over certain GCC diffs we're discussing
here. Because of your policy that you're willing to merge contributions
only that you've gained ownership over, you aren't going to _want_ to
merge these diffs at this time, because doing so would turn GCC into a
work with co-owners on the copyright, instead of FSF as 100% owner.'
Yes, Lattner did use the word 'can't', but his followup postings such as
https://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2010-09/msg00133.html make very clear, if it
weren't already, that he's talking _solely_ about the absence of
I don't have the authority to do this, it is not my copyright to assign.
Lattner is doubtless correct. Executing a transfer of copyright
ownership is something corporate counsel would need to sign off on, and
Lattner is just a coder.
Apple didn't 'block' anything. Judging from Lattner's comment, Apple
had not on at least some recent occasion given copyright ownership over
its contributions to FSF -- but nothing obliges Apple, Inc. to do so.
FSF is free to accept GPLv2 patches (against old GCC versions) or GPLv3
patches (against newer versions) from Apple if it wishes. Those are
freely available under the reciprocal terms of the original work. FSF
isn't satisfied with reciprocality: It also wants ownership of 100% of
the copyright interest. It has its reasons for wanting that, but not
_also_ getting copryight ownership over a code contributions that fully
respects the work's licence terms in _no_ way wrongs FSF, let alone
'blocks contributions to GCC'.
And, by the way, the numerous critical reader comments on the Phoronix
story would have _also_ made this matter clear to you, but I'm guessing
you didn't bother to read those, either.
So, basically this is a 99% bullshit story where the tiny 1% real story
isn't even mentioned -- but markedly worse bullshit once Schestowitz got
through piling additional soap opera on top of it.
Perhaps, next time you will bother to read what you are recommending to
others before bloviating about 'Apple crimes'? Not that I'm going to
hold my breath waiting, as you're rather too addicted to factually
challenged ranting, my friend.