contributor license agreement (CLA)

Brad Bishop bradleyb at
Thu Feb 15 05:55:43 AEDT 2018

On Wed, 2018-02-14 at 15:51 +0100, Paul Menzel wrote:
> Dear Brad,
> Thank you for your response.

No problem!

> > I am not a lawyer but my understanding is that it protects the
> > users
> > of OpenBMC from a contribution to the project by a contributor that
> > did not have the necessary grants to make the submission in the
> > first place.  I found this page to provide a good layman's overview
> > of the benefits:
> Thank you for the URL, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t answer the 
> question what the advantage over the Linux kernel [1] procedure is.

>From the article:

"The purpose of a CLA is to ensure that the guardian of a project’s
outputs has the necessary ownership or grants of rights over all
contributions to allow them to distribute under the chosen license."

Again I am not a lawyer but based on my limited understanding, I don't
believe projects that only utilize a DCO (like Linux) can make these
assurances to their users.  This is the advantage - rather than
deferring this risk to the users of the project, we provide software
free of these concerns from the very start.

> Brad, who decided, that CLA are a requirement? To my knowledge, CLAs
> are 
> only needed, if you think about changing the license in the future. 
> Besides that, there is *no* advantage, and the Linux Kernel
> procedure 
> should be used. 

I think the evidence suggests otherwise.  There are many, many OSS
projects out there - many highly successful, that require a CLA.
Including Linux Foundation projects.  If there were no advantage at all
then this would not be the case.

> It just scares off people wanting to contribute small 
> fixes and improvements.

I concede the point, but as with any decision it is about cost/benefit 
- the cost being the point you have raised here, the benefit being
providing our users with software guaranteed to be free of any legal

More information about the openbmc mailing list