[Framework-Team] Re: [Plone 4] PLIP #9249 Add TinyMCE as the default visual editor

Martin Aspeli optilude+lists at gmail.com
Wed Jul 29 07:36:55 UTC 2009

Wichert Akkerman wrote:
> On 7/29/09 7:51 AM, Jon Stahl wrote:
>> On Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 12:07 AM, Geir Bækholt · Jarn<baekholt at jarn.com>  wrote:
>>>> There is a step missing here: contributors must not only have signed the
>>>> agreement, they must explicitly allow that specific code to be donated to
>>>> the foundation. Signing the contributor agreement does not mean all your
>>>> code can be moved at will to the foundation.
>>> Yes, of course. Implied but omitted. My bad. Thanks.
>> So, my question is: what qualifies as "explicit" agreement?  Does it
>> have to be "on the permanent record" in some manner?
> You'll have to ask the PF legal counsel I'm afraid. I don't know the 
> right answer.

I suspect you don't need to ask. :)

If all contributors of all lines of code that are being moved consent, 
and have signed the contributor agreement, then there really is no issue.

We're now getting into a technical argument about what constitutes 
"consent", but it's hardly that difficult. You ask. They say yes or no. 
An email trail would be nice.

In reality, whenever we deal with these kinds of things, we operate 
within some margin of acceptable risk. A risk always has a probability 
of occurring and a probable impact if it does occur. The acceptability 
of a risk depends on these two factors. Equally, there's a (usually more 
measurable) cost and sometimes other risks associated with doing nothing.

So, in this case, we're deciding whether to move a product into the PF 

There are risks and costs associated with not doing this, that is, the 
usual risks to Plone associated with code not covered by the agreement.

There are risks associated with going ahead with the move, such as:

  - Rob may lie about some contributor having consented
  - Rob may misinterpret a particular response as consent
  - Someone may indicate consent and then lie about it later, pretending 
they didn't consent, and try to raise hell
  - We may have it all wrong, and it may turn out there is some 
convoluted legal procedure we *have* to follow, and if we don't, men in 
expensive suits are going to come after us

The probability of any of those occurring I'd say is very low. The 
impact would also likely be very low if any of these things did occur. 
Most likely, the worst that would happen is that the PF board would need 
to discuss it for a bit. In the worst case, we move the code back to the 

Let's try not to use the "we're not lawyers" argument as self-censorship 
stop energy. The reality is that there's a big grey zone that we all 
operate in every day, whether we are aware or not, and in reality the 
spirit of the contributor agreement and the conservancy model matters 
infinitely more than the technical details.

Furthermore, I suspect if you asked two lawyers, you'd get at least two 
different answers.

Of course - I'm not a lawyer. But I do deal with these kinds of 
questions quite often over commercial matters where there is a lot more 
at stake than there is here, and a much higher probability of actual, 
quantifiable losses if important steps are missed.


Author of `Professional Plone Development`, a book for developers who
want to work with Plone. See http://martinaspeli.net/plone-book

More information about the Framework-Team mailing list