Quality control in open source development

Discussion in 'Python' started by Dave, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. Dave

    Dave Guest

    With the open source licenses that allow redistribution of modified
    code, how do you keep someone unaffiliated with the Python community
    from creating his or her own version of python, and declaring it to be
    Python 2.6, or maybe Python 2.7 without any approval of anyone at the
    PSF? Maybe their code is terrible, and not even compatible with the
    rest of Python! How can the PSF, for example, maintain the quality and
    coheren of new code contributed to be part of Python, or derivative
    works that claim to be some future version of Python? If licensees can
    redisribute as they like, isn't this a huge problem? Is this dealt
    with be restricting use of the Python trademarks? Just curious..
    Dave, Oct 8, 2008
    #1
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  2. Dave

    Chris Mellon Guest

    On Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 10:43 AM, Dave <> wrote:
    > With the open source licenses that allow redistribution of modified
    > code, how do you keep someone unaffiliated with the Python community
    > from creating his or her own version of python, and declaring it to be
    > Python 2.6, or maybe Python 2.7 without any approval of anyone at the
    > PSF? Maybe their code is terrible, and not even compatible with the
    > rest of Python!


    In some projects, there's trademarks on the project name (for example,
    Linus owns the Linux trademark), so you can mitigate confusion that
    way. I don't know if the PSF owns the Python trademarks or not.

    You can't stop them from forking and releasing their own code, even if
    it's really bad. That's freedom for you.

    > How can the PSF, for example, maintain the quality and
    > coheren of new code contributed to be part of Python, or derivative
    > works that claim to be some future version of Python? If licensees can
    > redisribute as they like, isn't this a huge problem?


    I think it's pretty self-evident that it's not a huge problem, don't
    you? Do you see lots of low quality python forks cluttering up the
    internet?

    > Is this dealt
    > with be restricting use of the Python trademarks? Just curious..
    >
    > --
    > http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list
    >
    Chris Mellon, Oct 8, 2008
    #2
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  3. Dave

    Peter Otten Guest

    Dave wrote:

    > With the open source licenses that allow redistribution of modified
    > code, how do you keep someone unaffiliated with the Python community
    > from creating his or her own version of python, and declaring it to be
    > Python 2.6, or maybe Python 2.7 without any approval of anyone at the
    > PSF? Maybe their code is terrible, and not even compatible with the
    > rest of Python! How can the PSF, for example, maintain the quality and
    > coheren of new code contributed to be part of Python, or derivative
    > works that claim to be some future version of Python? If licensees can
    > redisribute as they like, isn't this a huge problem? Is this dealt
    > with be restricting use of the Python trademarks? Just curious..


    The hit men from the PSU will take care of that. But I'm not supposed to
    talk ab
    Peter Otten, Oct 8, 2008
    #3
  4. On Oct 8, 8:43 am, Dave <> wrote:
    > With the open source licenses that allow redistribution of modified
    > code, how do you keep someone unaffiliated with the Python community
    > from creating his or her own version of python, and declaring it to be
    > Python 2.6, or maybe Python 2.7 without any approval of anyone at the
    > PSF? Maybe their code is terrible, and not even compatible with the
    > rest of Python! How can the PSF, for example, maintain the quality and
    > coheren of new code contributed to be part of Python, or derivative
    > works that claim to be some future version of Python? If licensees can
    > redisribute as they like, isn't this a huge problem? Is this dealt
    > with be restricting use of the Python trademarks?  Just curious..


    Most trademark violations have occurred, to the best of my
    recollection, by commercial entities trying to usurp the popularity of
    an open-source endeavor for their own commercial gain. It is very
    rare that another in the open-source community will commandeer the
    good name of another project for his own purposes.

    This gives strong credence to the idea that the highly participatory
    nature of the open-source community serves as a strong, self-enforcing
    deterrent to negative acts of this nature.

    As far as quality assurance itself goes, independent, third-party unit
    test suites are easily engineered. Parties who do manage to succeed
    in releasing their own "Python 2.7" can do so only by either making
    their product compatible with this third-party verification suite, or
    by not doing so. This leads to two situations:

    (1) If compatible, then the name "Python 2.7" may well be accepted by
    the community, even if only in an allegorical sense (e.g., "If PSF
    released Python 2.7, this product is how I envision it'd be like.").
    Alternatively, people will recognize the product as being Python-
    compatible, but otherwise an independent line of development -- e.g.,
    a fork. The PSF can then release under a new set of version numbers
    (where everyone understands that 2.7 is an independent fork not
    endorsed by PSF), persue negotiations (ultimately terminating in legal
    action) to arrive at an acceptable product name, etc. If the PSF were
    feeling particularly benevolent, they could even accept some ideas
    from the 2.7 release into their own branch of development.

    (2) If incompatible, the product will gather a reputation of
    inferiority rapidly, and those clearly interested in Python will
    neither want nor have anything to do with this misbranded malfeasance.

    Again, independent verification is an example of the participatory
    nature of the community at large, and is a prime example of how
    concerned citizens can act collectively in their own interest,
    independently, to help ensure the quality of a socially-accepted
    product.
    Samuel A. Falvo II, Oct 8, 2008
    #4
  5. Dave

    Terry Reedy Guest

    Dave wrote:
    > With the open source licenses that allow redistribution of modified
    > code, how do you keep someone unaffiliated with the Python community
    > from creating his or her own version of python, and declaring it to be
    > Python 2.6, or maybe Python 2.7 without any approval of anyone at the
    > PSF? Maybe their code is terrible, and not even compatible with the
    > rest of Python! How can the PSF, for example, maintain the quality and
    > coheren of new code contributed to be part of Python, or derivative
    > works that claim to be some future version of Python? If licensees can
    > redisribute as they like, isn't this a huge problem? Is this dealt
    > with be restricting use of the Python trademarks? Just curious..


    The Python license says:
    "In the event Licensee prepares a derivative work that is based on or
    incorporates Python 3.0c1 or any part thereof, and wants to make the
    derivative work available to others as provided herein, then Licensee
    hereby agrees to include in any such work a brief summary of the changes
    made to Python 3.0c1."

    Other licenses specify that derivatives use a different name or even
    distribute changes as a patch for the unchanged original.
    Terry Reedy, Oct 8, 2008
    #5
  6. Dave

    Tim Chase Guest

    Tim Chase, Oct 8, 2008
    #6
  7. Dave

    Matimus Guest

    On Oct 8, 8:43 am, Dave <> wrote:
    > With the open source licenses that allow redistribution of modified
    > code, how do you keep someone unaffiliated with the Python community
    > from creating his or her own version of python, and declaring it to be
    > Python 2.6, or maybe Python 2.7 without any approval of anyone at the
    > PSF?


    How are they going to "declare" that their version is Python 2.x? What
    forum would they use. Current users of python most likely look to
    comp.lang.python or python.org for their python update news. New users
    of python are likely to use google or another search engine, and
    probably land at python.org. Is it possible for me to take Python's
    source code, make some changes, and post it somewhere as Python 2.7?
    Yes. Will anybody notice? Not likely. Others have made some pretty
    sound arguments around trademarks and such, but I'm going to simply
    argue that Python as a community has its own inertia, and it simply
    isn't a practical to be concerned about a dubious fork. It simply
    wouldn't take off.

    Matt
    Matimus, Oct 8, 2008
    #7
  8. Matimus wrote:
    > Others have made some pretty
    > sound arguments around trademarks and such, but I'm going to simply
    > argue that Python as a community has its own inertia, and it simply
    > isn't a practical to be concerned about a dubious fork. It simply
    > wouldn't take off.


    I think this is indeed the strongest argument. If it isn't on
    python.org, it won't be Python 2.7 (and people won't mistake it for that).

    The PSF encourages alternative implementations of Python
    (whether as forks from the current code base, or by starting from
    scratch), and there are indeed several such implementations available
    (Jython, Stackless Python, IronPython, PyPy). Formally, people need to
    designate their implementation with some additional attribute, as
    done in this list, or even in "mere" repackaging (ActivePython,
    Enthought Python Distribution).

    As a matter of fact, all these people not only come up with specific
    names because they are required to do so, but also because they are
    proud of their specific product, and they *want* people to recognize
    that this is different (in various ways) from "core" Python (which
    they sometimes call CPython, just to make it clear that this is actually
    but another implementation of the Python language).

    Regards,
    Martin
    Martin v. Löwis, Oct 8, 2008
    #8
  9. Dave

    Steve Holden Guest

    Dave wrote:
    > With the open source licenses that allow redistribution of modified
    > code, how do you keep someone unaffiliated with the Python community
    > from creating his or her own version of python, and declaring it to be
    > Python 2.6, or maybe Python 2.7 without any approval of anyone at the
    > PSF? Maybe their code is terrible, and not even compatible with the
    > rest of Python! How can the PSF, for example, maintain the quality and
    > coheren of new code contributed to be part of Python, or derivative
    > works that claim to be some future version of Python? If licensees can
    > redisribute as they like, isn't this a huge problem? Is this dealt
    > with be restricting use of the Python trademarks? Just curious..


    The PSF relies on the Python core developers to maintain quality. As far
    as redistribution is concerned there are requirements to describe the
    changes made to the basic Python distribution in derived works.

    As far as calling it "Python" is concerned, the PSF maintains a
    trademark on the word "Python" used to describe computer software. An
    informal description of PSF policy on uses of the trademark can be found at

    http://www.python.org/psf/trademarks/

    regards
    Steve
    --
    Steve Holden +1 571 484 6266 +1 800 494 3119
    Holden Web LLC http://www.holdenweb.com/
    Steve Holden, Oct 13, 2008
    #9
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