Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

Eclipse Contributor License Agreements Are Live

As we started talking about back in February, the Eclipse Foundation is doing a major overhaul of our IP processes. With the Kepler release now firmly in its end-game, the time has come to start rolling this out.

In February, I identified three major pieces of work that needed to get done:

  • First, we are going to implement Contributor License Agreements (CLAs) for all contributors at Eclipse. The CLA will be a short document that essentially asks The Three Questions once. We will collect some information about the contributor so that we have a record on file of who is giving us code or documentation. Note that the Eclipse Foundation CLA will be quite different from those in use at other organizations. For example, Apache’s CLAs basically give the ASF a license equivalent to ownership for contributions. The Oracle Contributor Agreement (OCA) used by OpenJDK community gives Oracle joint ownership of contributions. The Eclipse CLA is much more modest. In terms of licenses, all it says is that the contributor agrees that their contributions will be provided under the license(s) for the project they’re contributing to. You can review and discuss the draft CLA on bug 401349.
  • Second, we are going to support signed-off-by for contributions which flow to Eclipse project via git and Gerrit. The goal here is to make it as simple as possible for Eclipse projects to accept contributions via the community best practices which have grown up around git. As part of this, we will be developing a contributor certificate of originality, inspired by the one used by the Linux community.
  • And finally, we are going to automate as much of this workflow as possible. Our CLAs will be presented and completed on-line. There will be Gerrit support so committers get an immediate indication as to whether a contributor has a CLA on file. There will be git triggers which will reject a commit where there is no CLA on file for the author of the code commit.

Ever since then, we’ve been working on getting all of the pieces lined up to go live with these capabilities. Today is the first step!

The Eclipse Contributor License Agreement is now live. This means that contributors can execute a CLA, and get theirs on file. Committers will be able to use the PMI (project management infrastructure) to look up whether a particular contributor has a CLA on file. So starting immediately, you will be able to refer to a CLA rather than asking the “three questions” on a bug. This is basically delivering on the first item above.

For the second item, the Eclipse Foundation Contributor’s Certificate of Origin has been published, and contributors and committers should start using the signed-by option with git.

In order for a contributor to sign their CLA, they need to do the following:

  1. Obtain and Eclipse Foundation userid. Anyone who currently uses our Bugzilla or Gerrit systems already has one of those. If they don’t, they need to register.
  2. Login into the projects portal, select “My Account”, and then the “Contributor License Agreement” tab.
Navigate to the CLA

Navigate to the CLA

The day after Kepler ships — Thursday, June 27th — we will deliver on the third item, which is automation. On that day, we will start automatically enforcing CLAs. This means that every time a contribution arrives at one of our git repositories (including Gerrit), the author field will be checked to ensure that there is a CLA or Committer Agreement on file for the author. If there isn’t, the contribution will be rejected.


Written by Mike Milinkovich

June 17, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Posted in Foundation, Open Source

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