[jdom-interest] IBM legal questionnaire

Jason Hunter jhunter at xquery.com
Tue Dec 21 09:03:20 PST 2004

Some of you may have just received an email from Frank at IBM asking you 
to answer a questionnaire about your contributions to JDOM.  Let me give 
you some background and advice.

The reason IBM's asking is that they want to use and include JDOM, and 
want to give it a legal vetting.  They've been doing similar vetting 
with Apache projects and sent basically the same questionnaire to Apache 
contributors.  I suspect they're doing it with all the open source 
projects they're using.

Fundamentally, I think it's a good thing for an open source project to 
have a friendly but independent legal "check up".  And it's nice IBM 
puts people like Frank in front (Frank has helped with JDOM in the past).

My concern is that I don't want every potential JDOM user to start 
sending questionnaires to each of its contributors.  The questionnaire 
approach just doesn't scale.  I believe IBM is the first to do this but 
won't be the last, so we need to figure out now what we do about it.

My solution is to ask IBM legal to agree to provide me with the "check 
up" report in a form that could be presented to HP, BEA, Sun, Dell, and 
other big firm legal departments when they start asking.

I've also asked IBM to agree that should they find any problems they'll 
provide what assistance they can in working them out.  I don't think you 
should potentially wake up sleeping dogs unless you're willing to help 
afterward.  :)

So far the legal dept hasn't agreed or disagreed, they just sent the 
questionnaires.  It was a bit of a miscommunication.

If you want to write back, you can.  Please CC me if you don't mind.  Or 
if you want to tell IBM that you'll wait to reply until IBM agrees to 
help the JDOM project in return, that'd be just dandy with me.  I think 
it's a fair request to make.


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