License for Community Contributions

Guido X Jansen
Guido X Jansen Global Business & Technology Evangelist Sprykee Posts: 406 ⚖️ - Guardians (admin)
edited August 2023 in Community Projects

Hi all,

We've made some updates to our community code contribution guidelines, which will also be in effect for our upcoming hackathon. Here's a quick rundown:

  1. Open Source Code: We encourage you to publish your code under the MIT License, making it freely available for anyone to use or modify.
  2. Ownership and Permissions: When contributing code, please ensure it's either your original work or you have explicit permission to share it. Do not include code from clients or employers without proper authorization.

A guideline we will also be using during the upcoming hackathon.

Why promote open code?

The primary goal is to facilitate collaborations during hackathons and other community events, especially when participants come from diverse employment backgrounds. When people from different employers work together, copyright can get messy real quick, we want to prevent that from happening.

If we don't use an open source license

If code is shared without a specific license, the copyright defaults to the individual creators or their employers (depending on their individual contracts). This could create complications if a team member wishes to use the code in future projects, whether for commercial purposes or otherwise.

As the one and only rms once wrote:

When a developer brings a project to a hackathon, and doesn't say whether it will be free, that is not overt opposition to the community spirit, but it undermines that spirit. Hackathons should strengthen the community spirit they are based on, by insisting that hackathon projects commit to release in accord with that spirit.

This means telling developers, “So that you deserve our support and help, you must agree to give the community the use of your project's results in freedom, if you ever consider them good enough to use or release.”

If we do use an open source license

Publishing the code under an open source license ensures that all hackathon team members , future hackathon participants and everyone else in the community can build upon those collaborative efforts and turn it into something useful.

Is This Mandatory?

No, this is not (yet) a hard requirement. You're free to decide how you'd like to release your code when starting a new community project. However, we strongly believe that using an open-source license maximizes the positive impact of your contributions.

Why MIT

We recommend the MIT License because of its maximal flexibility and minimal restrictions. If you have a strong opinion about promoting another open-source license, we're open to discussion. Please share your thoughts so we can consult with our legal team.

Let us know in the comments what you think!

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