Agreement to prevent FOSS projects from selling out

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Real Name: Roy Hoejgaard
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Agreement to prevent FOSS projects from selling out

Post by Roy »

There is one thing that has been on my mind for several weeks now.

We have GPL and similar licenses to protect the FOSS software right? But one thing I think is missing is a legally binding agreement, that the owner of a FOSS project (as an individual, corporation or non profit) should sign.

What I mean here is to create a way to prevent corporate greed from corrupting the project. To prevent the original owner from selling out, once the project becomes popular.

OpenOffice comes to mind. They sold out to Oracle. And what happened to that project? It died and is now in permanent limbo. It was later forked into LibreOffice, but it's just messy. I really wish the original OpenOffice was still being developed. It had a great name and logo after all.

Another one is MySQL. First it was acquired by Sun Microsystems, and then Sun was acquired by Oracle. Later it was forked into MariaDB by the original author, and that is the version I use today. But it is still a messy ordeal.

Recently, the same thing happened to CentOS. It was acquired by RedHat which in turn was acquired by IBM. And what did they do? Decided to scrap it and turn it into an upstream distro, similar to Fedora.

All of the CentOS community - me included - hates that decision with a passion. But because of selling out, it was made. And there is nothing we can do.

My point: let's create an agreement that project owners sign, which prevents this kind of stuff from happening. This way, we, the users, will know for sure where put our trust and support, when it comes to FOSS projects.

I will be the first to sign it.

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