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Contributor Agreement Update

Monday, August 15, 2016 - 08:30 by Mike Milinkovich

In addition to overhauling our IP processes, next week the Eclipse Foundation will be updating our contributor agreements. The changes we’ll be making include:

  1. Rename the CLA to the “Eclipse Contributor Agreement” or “ECA”. The reason we’re doing that is that in many circles within the free and open source community “CLA” has a negative connotation, as many CLAs require authors to assign ownership of their contributions to some entity. Eclipse does not do this, nor ever intends to do so. We have had a number of instances where people have assumed that our CLA does something it doesn’t, just because of the name. Hopefully a different TLA will help with that.
  2. The current CLA basically copies and rephrases the Eclipse Contributor Certificate of Originality (CoO). It would be a lot easier to simply embed a direct copy of the relevant text in the ECA.
  3. The Eclipse Foundation has its own CoO. We have had a number of requests to move to the Linux Foundation’s Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO), as it is widely adopted and well understand by the broad community of open source producers and consumers. So we are going to do that.

We do not consider these changes to be a big deal from a legal perspective — the end result of good record-keeping and clear IP flows remain the same. As a result, everyone with existing Eclipse CLAs will continue to use those until they expire. We are hoping that these changes will not cause any disruption to our existing contributor work flow.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!