Company I work for is looking to contribute to Open Source projects... but wrongly?
I would like opinions on this. One of the managers where I work wants to 'enhance' some open source projects, but instead of going by what I would consider the normal route of supplying patches upstream, he wants to open a bitbucket account and grab the project (he never told me which one) and then just enhance it. While this would still be 'open source', to me this is the very definition of a fork.
He claims that it'd take too long to wait for upstream to apply any enhancements, and depending on the project, that could very well be correct. But I told him he didn't technically need to wait for such things. All that would be required is to at least provide links to whomever the software was distributed to for the source code, or even just the patches made, and the upstream source. He only mentioned in the discussion LGPL section 4 (which is the one conveniently linked to on Wikipedia). I suggested they develop the patches internally, build the project and distribute it to the customers, providing links to the bug tracker or mailing list or wherever those patches may be. Then the end users can get the enhanced software sooner, they don't have to wait for upstream, but they also don't end up doing a full on fork! Unless of course their patches get refused outright, then at least they'd have a reason for forking.
What does everyone think about this? This is a manager that has always liked to disagree with me, and being an Apple fan and a developer, I don't think he's delved into a whole lot of open source software, at least the licensing and developing side of things.
There's nothing wrong with forking the software, except you'll then have to merge in any future changes from upstream. Whether that's easier than getting your changes incorporated will depend on who's in charge of that project.
Having a public fork is IMHO better, as then everyone has access to your changes, not merely your customers.
I would think this would only apply if they had first attempted to contact the upstream project. If they had decided to not utilize any enhancements, then I would have had no problem with them creating a public fork. Also, without code review from the original project, I think any sort of fork would suffer.
Originally Posted by curaga
Originally Posted by bridgman
That is exactly it! Perfectly said! That was my biggest problem with this manager, and also most of why I was irritated at him, he simply wouldn't tell me what the project was, even though I'd asked him multiple times. It could very well be multiple projects. I had suggested to my manager that if the company I worked for wanted support for USB Redirection within the Windows version of the virt-viewer client, that they may just have to give some programmers time to the project. But I highly doubt that has anything to do with this, since this manger I speak of has a team that pretty much only knows Java. I would expect one of the other teams to be better prepared with something that would be more low level, like USB Redirection.
Indeed if upstream is slow, then I would have no problems with the way they're attempting to do this. I said as much to him, but he still refused to even tell me what the project is. Who knows, maybe they're working on Minecraft plugins.