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SubjectRe: Contributing to the kernel while being employed
> Before working for a commercial organization, one usually has to sign a
> contract which makes all the work done during the period of employment
> (including innovations, "hobby" coding done during "after hours")
> copyrighted by the employer. This introduces various problems when one
> wishes to do open source development, especially as a hobby.
>
> I am not talking about companies that do open source contributions as
> institutions (e.g., JFS, XFS, and numerous device drivers). But if one
> wants to do something as a hobby and host it somewhere (say
> sourceforge), or if one wants to send a substantial patch, then it is a
> different story.
>
> For example, if I do some changes and send a patch, and hopefully if it
> is accepted into the kernel, that code becomes GPL. But this doesn't
> prevent the employer from later questioning my right to do so, because
> the patch was never under my copyright according to the contract, and my
> applying of GPL (or whatever the lisence I used) is void.
>
> Obviously, there are many folks who work for commercial organizations,
> but still actively get involved in the kernel development. I am keen to
> know how they get around with copyright issues and contracts.

I suggest you ask your employer for a written waiver to that contract
for GPL'ed work, and make sure it's signed by the right people. They may
want it more restricted, in which case, falling back to the position
of just covering submissions to the Linux kernel.

M.

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