As of story submission time, this seems like it is still a rumor. Supposedly announcements are going to be made tomorrow.
A good reminder of the worst case scenario of copyright assignment to an open source project. Money received by (most) contributors for their time, effort, and source code to Ansible: $0.
I think this is short of worst case, because Red Hat plans to maintain it as open-source software. In fact they seem to be indicating that they’ll open-source even more than was the case previously. They don’t commit to a timeline, but they suggest that Ansible Tower will probably be open sourced.
The worst case is more like Oracle buying the project and taking the whole thing proprietary. You can make a project a bit more resistant to that by 1) using a copyleft license; and 2) not requiring copyright assignment all to one party. Then an acquirer would have to acquire rights to or remove all the third-party code before taking it proprietary.
Has there ever been a situation like this where copyright wasn’t assigned and the umbrella company actually rewarded contributors with anything (either to get copyright assignment or just as a thank you)?
Not really comparable, but in the late 90’s Red Hat was giving out or selling a lot of pre-IPO stock to significant open source contributors who were not employees (Linus, etc). Of course, that was the late 90’s.
Even in some cases when copyright/ip is assigned in a sloppy manner they will clean up with major contributors with cash prior to a sale or IPO. Many smaller shops copy-paste other companies copyright agreements and they often have unforeseen issues due to location or corporation type and they have to clean it up. I was on the receiving end of one of those checks, and it was a nice little bonus for just reasserting what I had already agreed to (in spirit at least).
Does Ansible require copyright assignment?
They do (bottom of the page). I couldn’t find if there’s a more elaborate text in a 5-minute search.
That doesn’t look like copyright assignment…
For reference: “By contributing you agree that these contributions are your own (or approved by your employer) and you grant a full, complete, irrevocable copyright license to all users and developers of the project, present and future, pursuant to the license of the project.”
Official press release.
Dammit. Not that Ansible was perfect, but it was better than Puppet, Chef or Salt. Now it’s been sold to the Linux equivalent of the bastard child of Yahoo! and Oracle. Great. Thanks. Thanks a lot, capitalism.