Closed Bug 763623 Opened 12 years ago Closed 12 years ago

Add AUTHORS file to mozilla-central and comm-central


( :: Licensing, task)

Not set


(Not tracked)



(Reporter: BenB, Assigned: gerv)




(2 files)

Bug 757018 removed copyright notices, namely Initial Developer (including "Copyright") and Contributors.

Could you restore them, please, throughout the trees?

Apart from VCS (which is not reliable, see CVS history, and doesn't survive copying source tarballs), this is the only direct authorship attribution we have and is thus crucial for establishing the copyright and authorship of the work.

This is a friendly, but legal request. It's a legal right of an author of a work to keep authorship and copyright intact, even more so when such notices they have been put in explicitly.

Thanks, and really sorry for the extra work.



Initial Developer lines:
Contributors lines:
Blocks: mpl2
Summary: Restore names and copyright notices of Initial Developer and Contributor in source files → Restore names and copyright notices in source files

> What about the list of Contributors?
> The list of Contributors in the licence header was required by the MPL 1.1 but, in line with
> other modern free software licences, is not required by MPL 2. In practice, it was neither a
> complete nor accurate list of people with a copyright interest in the particular file. After
> discussion, most people in the project think it is not useful, and can be a source of merge
> problems, so we will be removing it along with the rest of the MPL 1.1 header.

This reasoning and decision does that withstand the reasoning above.
Sorry, typo: "This reasoning and decision does *not* withstand the reasoning above." nor the rights of authors.
OS: Linux → All
Hardware: x86_64 → All
Given the Berne Convention, copyright notices provide no additional legal protection for authors above that they gain from simply being the author of the code in question. And we do not believe that per-file copyright ownership information is either useful in practice or required by the license.

So, following internal discussion, our outline plan to address this issue is as follows:

- Create an AUTHORS file at the top level of the Mozilla tree with explanatory text
- Add the names of all IDs and Contributors from the pre-relicensing codebase to it
- Permit new Mozilla code authors who wish to do so to add their names also

The MPL 2's requirement for notice preservation was intentionally designed to be flexible. It requires that we preserve the 'substance' of copyright notices; that does not mean we must preserve their exact location.

I see no problem with that, that sounds fine to me. (At the moment, I'm not a lawyer etc.)
Summary: Restore names and copyright notices in source files → Add AUTHORS file to mozilla-central and comm-central
These patches were created by running a modified version of relic over the source trees from immediately prior to the MPL 2 relicensing, the use of "sort" and "uniq", plus quite a bit of manual clean-up.

It may be that some people are duplicated, if they have multiple forms of their name, or if their email address is in there standalone and also their name standalone. Anyone who sees such a problem should comment here before checkin, or file a new bug afterwards.


I had the same inspiration for Test Pilot stuff here, if it helps your list.
Comment on attachment 661212 [details] [diff] [review]
Patch v.1 for comm-central

>+Ian Neal <>
Should be:
Ian Neal <>
Thanks, Gerv!
Shouldn't I appear in both lists? 
Or is the comm-central list meant as an addendum to the mozilla-central one?
Ian: Fixed locally, thanks.

Karsten: The comm-central list covers all code in the comm-central repo. The mozilla-central list covers all code in the mozilla-central repo.

gerv@mink:/usr/src/mpl2/mozilla-central$ grep -r "sterloh" *
tools/relic/make-id-list:  "Karsten Düsterloh" => "Karsten D&uuml;sterloh",

>    1.10 +For a full list of the people who are credited with making a
>    1.11 +contribution to Mozilla, see .

The wording here is a bit strange. You'll find people in AUTHORS that are not credited in the credits, so the latter can't possibly be "a full list".
The wording is correct. about:credits is a full list of people who are _credited_ (that is, have specifically asked for and received credit) with making a contribution to _Mozilla_ (the project).

This list is a partial list of people who may have copyright ownership in the particular codebase in which the file resides, and has been created (as Ben pointed out) because the wording of the two Mozilla licenses, when taken together, suggests that it's necessary. The MPL 1.1 headers were not a credit mechanism, therefore anyone who listed themselves there is not necessarily someone who has asked for or received credit.

Closed: 12 years ago
Resolution: --- → FIXED
Would it have been worth checking against the list in for the m-c list?
No, because this list is not the same as that list, as noted in comment 15.

The purpose of this bug is _not_ to have a second copy of about:credits somewhere. Ben pointed out a problem with our migration from one license to another, and this file addresses that issue. I would encourage people looking for credit for their Mozilla contributions to use the about:credits submission mechanism, and forget about this file :-) 

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