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Fedora To Have a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" For Contributors 212

Posted by timothy
from the the-right-kind-of-discretion dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Fedora Project is now going to enforce a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for contributors. What the project's engineering committee is asking their members to conceal is a contributor's nationality, country of origin, or area of residence. There's growing concern about software development contributions coming from export restricted countries by the US (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria) with Red Hat being based out of North Carolina, but should these governmental restrictions apply to an open-source software project?"
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Fedora To Have a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" For Contributors

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  • Re:Absolutely (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:50PM (#46420121)

    This could quite possibly qualify as "civil disobedience", which has a long history in the US.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @12:57PM (#46420207)

    "If someone in Syria submits a contribution to US based software, how does that infringe an export ban?"

    I think the point here is more like: should a North Carolina-based company be doing business with countries that the U.S. government is sanctioning?

  • Re:Absolutely (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:23PM (#46420469) Homepage

    Yes and "it's complicated".

    The point of the sanctions is to say "If you're not going to play Global Economic Power nicely*, you're not going to play at all." That doesn't just mean "you're not going to win", but it also includes "you're not going to practice", "you're not going to have others play for you", and "you're not going to share the winnings with anyone who does play.

    It has been upheld in US courts that even the minor fame from open-source authorship counts as economic gain (thus reinforcing the GPL's validity as being consequential). Acknowledging that Cuban programmers are good enough for inclusion in Fedora implies that Cuban programmers might be good enough for other projects, and that's marketing - certainly a part of that Global Economic Power game.

    * For pro-American values of "nicely"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2014 @01:52PM (#46420775)

    ITAR is still alive and well, we recently had lots of "fun" trying to get a decent frequency standard for our internal cal lab in (non-EU) eastern Europe.
    "OMG, the Russkies could steal the secrets of the atomic... clock?!?"

  • Re:Absolutely (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrvan (973822) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @02:05PM (#46420931)

    Maybe it's a stupid question, but can't you "launder" code by routing it through a third nation and recommitting the code from there?

    What is the export restriction on anyway? The bits? The IP? And does it extend to any derived work of an export restricted IP burdened work? Because if any piece of code on which any citizen of a restricted country has copyright, I'm pretty sure the linux kernel would contain at least one line, meaning all android phones and most routers, servers etc would be illegal?

    Also, DADT sounds really stupid as company policy. I don't know a lot about US law, but in the Netherlands corporate liability extends if the management knew or was in a position to know that law was breached, and having policy to conceal such breach is good evidence that management was in a position to know. Any US lawyers care to comment?

  • Re:Absolutely (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @04:07PM (#46422225) Homepage

    No, there's one kind of civil disobedience. It's just there's a lot of posers out there who want the "cool factor" of claiming martydom without having to following through on all the down sides of actually being a martyr.

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