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Date:   Thu, 9 Nov 2017 11:29:34 -0500
From:   Theodore Ts'o <tytso@....edu>
To:     Daniel Lezcano <daniel.lezcano@...aro.org>
Cc:     Linus Torvalds <torvalds@...ux-foundation.org>,
        Greg Kroah-Hartman <gregkh@...uxfoundation.org>,
        Linux Kernel Mailing List <linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org>
Subject: Re: Legal question: Author, Sign-off, Company Copyright and gmail

On Thu, Nov 09, 2017 at 10:45:27AM +0100, Daniel Lezcano wrote:
> 
> Hi all,
> 
> I noticed a practice when the patches are submitted where I'm a bit
> confused about how it fits with the DCO.
> 
> People are creating gmail accounts to send patches on behalf of their
> company because the company's email configuration does not allow to send
> patches or adds extra infos, or whatever...
> 
> That ends up with patches submitted by a gmail account with no history
> and verifiable origin and new files containing a company copyright [1].
> 
> At the first glance I would say, it is not allowed, and if a company is
> willing to do opensource, it should provide the tools to its employees
> to do so. But I don't want block patch submission if this practice is
> tolerated.

Note that git send-email will automatically take care of this case by
taking the From field from the author field of git, and moving it into
the body.  So you might have an e-mail message which looks like this:

From: <user.lastname>@gmail.com
Subject: [PATCH] some patch
Date: April 1, 2017
Other-mail-headers: etc. etc.

From: User Lastname <luser@...pany.with.busted.exchange.server.net>

This is some patch!

...

And then git apply-patch will automatically use the first From field
in the "pseudo-header" instead of the From field in the mail header.

Other people will do this because they they have a username@...nel.org
account, and they want all of their Kernel git commits to have
username@...nel.org in the author field, so they'll do the same thing
of putting "From: username@...nel.org" as the first line of the body
--- either manually, or by setting the appropriate git configuration
variables so that username@...nel.org gets used as the author
information in the git commit.

So what e-mail you use when you interact with the kernel mailing
lists, what e-mail address you want to show up in the git commit's
author field, and which company should get credit for your
contributions for a given period of time in the Linux Foundation's
"who writes Linux" report are three separable issues.

You could be using gmail.com for patch submission, use your kernel.org
address for git author fields, while working for nokia.com.  And
that's just fine.

Cheers,

						- Ted

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