You might wonder why getting Apereo to be more like Apache and stop hassling contributors to sign ICLAs, and to stop hassling committers to check whether would-be contributors have signed ICLAs, is important to me.

Suppose

  • Apereo continues for 100 years. (The goal is to continue adding value to higher education, right?)
  • Apereo averages 100 going projects at any given time over those 100 years. (The goal is to grow to more going projects, right?)
  • Those projects, being vibrant and successful, average one third-party contribution per day. (The goal is to be successfully adopted and contributed to, participatory collaborative open source in higher education, right?)
  • Needlessly manually checking for would-be contributor ICLA compliance costs a committer ten seconds each time. (The page listing CLA signatories takes six seconds just to load in my browser.)
  • Suppose if the policy is to require ICLAs of mere contributors, committers actually do manually check for that ICLA compliance instead of ignoring this burden.

Fixing policy to stop requiring ICLAs of contributors will save 100 * 100 * 365 * 10 seconds = 14 mythical person months.

That's why.

(Some committers will simply ignore this burden, saving some time even without this change, but then many committers will take longer than ten seconds to navigate this hassle, so I don't think this under-estimates the person-months at stake.)

Oh, and that was just committer time.

Suppose

  • the same average 100 active projects over 100 years above
  • with each active project gaining one new third-party contributor per week
  • with that contributor taking ten minutes to learn they need to sign an ICLA, wade through how to do so, print it, sign it, find a fax machine or scanner, send it back to Apereo
  • in 1% of cases having to follow up for another ten minutes on a misplaced or delayed-processing submission
  • in 1% of cases admitting that their contribution is on behalf of a corporation and actually taking a half hour to follow through to get a duly authorized person to sign and submit the CCLA as well
  • in 10% of those cases that ending up looping in Counsel and costing another four hours of meetings

That's 125 mythical person-months from contributors.

Under those same assumptions, suppose Apereo staff or contractors take one minute to process in each submitted ICLA or CCLA, filing it away and adding the person to the spreadsheet or whatever.

That's another 12 mythical person-months from Apereo staff or contractors.

It's tempting to dismiss this as, hey, any cost is extreme multiplied over a century, but 150 person-months over the course of a century is still more than one person-month per year.

Life's short. Spend it on things that add value.

Post photo acknowledgement: XKCD via CC-BY-NC-2.5.