I have been programming open source for about fifteen years and have
many projects, including a small contribution to the Linux kernel and
Ruby. I had the singularly unpleasant experience for the first time
this morning to be notified thru email that somebody has taken one of
the projects I made about six years ago (MPI-Ruby) and removed my name
(and COPYRIGHT info) as well as all other contributing authors.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/mpiruby (see, same source
code on sourceforge – 2003 – but with my name and the previous
author, E. Ong, removed, as well as the University of Chicago, another
supporter as well as the US Government)
Then he added his own name. Apparently he is well-known enough to
speak at Rails Conf. I notice that his company website, Relevance,
describe Aaron’s abilities thusly:
Aaron brings the ability to quickly ninja any application.
At this point, because Relevance markets their company as “supporting
open source”, I wanted to point out that it seems to me they are
actually just removing names, copying, and putting their own names on
other people’s work. This is my experience and it feels like a
violation of open source principles.
I was surprised that Aaron never even tried to email me and also
surprised that he didn’t just add his name to the list of noble
contributors kept in the original source code. I’d have been fine
with that. I hope the Open Source community has a plan for how to
defend against fraudulent IP claims and would appreciate any advice.