Brussels / 30 & 31 January 2016


Who's afraid of the DCO

why you should help adopt the DCO for your project

As an alternative to Contributor Licence Agreements, the DCO has proven to be very popular and, when coupled to a strong source control system like git, solves all of the issues of tracking and provenance that plague legacy CLA systems. This talk will examine the basis and mechanisms for the DCO, using the Linux kernel (the earliest DCO adopter) as an example and finally explore issues which have arisen in using the DCO for strong patent licences like Apache-2 and GPLv3

Now that the DCO is free from the kernel ( it can be used in any project. This talk begins with why you need a Contributor Agreement (CA) in the first place, explores some of the history and reasons for the various CAs and why Linux was forced to adopt the DCO nearly ten years ago. We will contrast the ten years of DCO experience against some other projects which use more specific CAs and explain the benefits and pitfalls. We will also give advice on best practices around using the DCO, what else is required to make the DCO work correctly and what problems still remain. The final hurdle in using the DCO for every licence seems to be the question of patents and strong patent licences (Apache-2 and GPLv3). We will examine the current status of the DCO as it pertains to patents and investigate new mechanisms to strengthen the agency aspect of corporate DCO contributions


Photo of James Bottomley James Bottomley