GDB attribution policy (Re: [PATCH v2 2/3] Add FreeBSD/mips architecture.)

Pedro Alves
Fri Dec 16 12:22:00 GMT 2016

Hi John,

On 12/06/2016 09:00 PM, John Baldwin wrote:
> --- /dev/null
> +++ b/gdb/mips-fbsd-tdep.c
> @@ -0,0 +1,565 @@
> +/* Target-dependent code for FreeBSD/mips.
> +
> +   Copyright (C) 2016 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
> +
> +   This software was developed by SRI International and the University
> +   of Cambridge Computer Laboratory under DARPA/AFRL contract
> +   FA8750-10-C-0237 ("CTSRD"), as part of the DARPA CRASH research
> +   programme.

IMO, "contributed by" "written by", etc. attribution statements are best not
added to source files, and are better placed in the "Contributors" node in
the manual [1], which seems to exist exactly for this purpose.

I see a few advantages:

- It ends up surviving even if these new files are deleted in the future.

- It's discoverable by end users too, unlike some comment deep in some
  source file.

- Doesn't get inaccurate over time, as other contributors touch / rework / add
  to / mostly rewrite the code over the years, who understandably won't
  remember or won't feel comfortable with touching the original "written by"

For similar reasons, a few years back, glibc explicitly stopped accepting
attribution statements in sources, as can be seen in their version of the
contribution checklist [2].  I believe the discussion that led to that glibc
policy started here [3].

I've discussed this with other GDB maintainers off list and it seems
there's general agreement to follow such a policy in GDB as well.

[1] -
[2] -
[3] -

Pedro Alves

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