Code "borrowed" without attribution to original authors

Uwe Kleine-König u.kleine-koenig at
Thu Oct 7 04:37:02 EDT 2010

Hi Wolfgang,

On Thu, Oct 07, 2010 at 10:08:10AM +0200, Wolfgang Denk wrote:
> In message <20101007073842.GP29673 at> you wrote:
> > 
> > I really wonder why you care about the commit log.  I would care more
> > about the copyright statements in the code.  (Nevertheless I consider it
> > correct and fair to attribute in the commit log where the code is taken
> > from.)
> The introduction of the Signed-off-by: system to the Linux kernel has
> been a significant improvement to make the origin of each and every
> line of code clear, independent of the copyright statements which
> quite often only list the original authors, even if the current file
> does not contain much of the original code any more.
Yep, it's a hard job to keep copyright statements up to date (and
sensible).  Updating the in-file statements is the best thing the
barebox people can do now.
> I think it i quite instructive to re-read the "12) Sign your work"
> section of the Linux kernel's "SubmittingPatches" document. I think
> our situation is best covered by the notes to back-porters there:
> |  Special note to back-porters: It seems to be a common and useful practise
> |  to insert an indication of the origin of a patch at the top of the commit
> |  message (just after the subject line) to facilitate tracking. For instance,
> |  here's what we see in 2.6-stable :
> |  
> |      Date:   Tue May 13 19:10:30 2008 +0000
> |  
> |          SCSI: libiscsi regression in 2.6.25: fix nop timer handling
> |  
> |          commit 4cf1043593db6a337f10e006c23c69e5fc93e722 upstream
> |  
> |  And here's what appears in 2.4 :
> |  
> |      Date:   Tue May 13 22:12:27 2008 +0200
> |  
> |          wireless, airo: waitbusy() won't delay
> |  
> |          [backport of 2.6 commit b7acbdfbd1f277c1eb23f344f899cfa4cd0bf36a]
> |  
> |  Whatever the format, this information provides a valuable help to people
> |  tracking your trees, and to people trying to trouble-shoot bugs in your
> |  tree.
> Note that this is not only a topic from the point of code
> attribution, but also from the point of bug tracking and quality
> insurance.  I consider it a good thing in general.  I definitely
> want to have this in U-Boot myself.
full ack.  But the impression I got on your first mails is not that you
care much about bug tracking and quality assurance in barebox.  I
thought it's more about missing fame for U-Boot and it's contributors.

And it needs an adaption if you copy code that was added and changed by
several commits.  Then I would not add the "original" Sobs to my commit
log, only reference the HEAD commit where the code is taken from.)

> > I don't know if you want to make it easier for people to get the
> > annotations right/better when copying from U-Boot or not.  But if you
> > do, you could change your standard copyright header to include the
> > project's name.  Something like:
> Hm... we could do that, of course. But what exactly would it help or
> change?
If Joe Developer copies a file from U-Boot to barebox, he automatically
get's the in-file attribution right/better.

>          This is not done in Linux, either...
So you scruple to make U-Boot better than the Linux kernel? ;-)

In the section "How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs" of the
GPL-2 it's even suggested to add 

	<one line to give the program's name and a brief idea of what it does.>

I prefer my suggestion, but YMMV.

Best regards

Pengutronix e.K.                           | Uwe Kleine-König            |
Industrial Linux Solutions                 |  |

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