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The only effective change for developers is that the contributor agreement will be directed to Joyent rather than myself

Does this mean Joyent now own the IP on Node.js?




Yes. And it looks like the way things stand today, they have the exclusive right under the CLA to re-license all that code under any other license as they see fit.

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I'll sell you a FPL'd (fizx public license) to node.js if you'd like. It's basically the same, but I provide extensive support for running on android devices embedded in juggling balls.

MIT License:

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person ... to sublicense ...

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I'm familiar with the MIT license, but thanks. So if the copyrights to new code aren't important, why would Joyent seek to change that and want to "own" the code now?

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I'm sure it makes it easier to market your services to the enterprise if you are the "official" owner of the project.

It also means they could offer a version under a license that is not MIT compatible, if they so desired.

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But your FPL must be MIT compatible. Joyent does not have that restriction. They could sell a forked version that prohibits redistribution.

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Where in the MIT license does it say you can't bar redistribution in your proprietary fork? That's obviously what everybody does when they use MIT code in their proprietary products? That's the whole point.

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IANAL, but isn't that precisely what the MIT license requires? That everyone who gets a copy of the software must also have the right to modify and redistribute it for free?

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I hope Ryan Dahl knows what he's doing, and didn't get strongarmed by his employer.

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Does it matter that they can re-license it? I don't think they can revoke the existing license for the existing code.

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They can, since they own the copyright to all the code in the project.

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I rather doubt that. If you sell something, you can not just change the contract afterwards, in general. Ianal, though.

If what you say is true, all Open Source Software would be doomed.

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No, since most open source projects don't require you to sign over your copyright when you contribute. For these projects, you need the agreement of everybody that contributed to the project to change the license, since they own a part of the project. In the case of Node.js, Ryan required all contributors to sign over their copyrights, so he was free to do whatever he wanted with the code. That includes relicensing or selling it.

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Well I am willing to bet you are wrong. It just doesn't make sense. By your logic my only insurance against some Open Source project going bad on me is that it has a variety of contributors, at least one of whom would not be willing to relicense. That would make OS licenses completely useless.

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