Open Source Insider

Jul 12 2017   9:32AM GMT

GitHub: It’s time to open source open source Terms of Service

Adrian Bridgwater Adrian Bridgwater Profile: Adrian Bridgwater


GitHub is asking for feedback and collaboration from its user community in updating its Terms of Service and other site policies. 

The web-based version control and data hosting organisation is effectively saying then that open source Terms of Service, should indeed be open source.

To action this action (Ed: there’s a lot of repetition here), GitHub has created a dedicated repository, which will be open until the end of July 2017.

This repository has been created to allow users to keep track of suggested changes and add their own. The new and improved terms of service will then be released on 07/08/17. 

Too late, this time?

For Computer Weekly Open Source Insider readers coming to this news late, there’s still a massive take away here i.e. the move to actually open source a set of policies and terms is good in one sense.

But, arguably, it is more remarkable if we consider the fact that GitHub is then saying that other firms (organisations, groups, bodies and commercial or non-profit entities) in any sphere should then be allowed to take and reuse those policies.

Then, obviously, in the spirit of open source, those same firms that take these policies should, ideally, be open about the way they have developed them and further ‘feed back to the group’ in the true ethos and spirit of open source.

Take and reuse our policies!

“We are proud to offer the policies in this repository — if any of them are useful to you, even in part, you’re welcome to use them, without restriction. See the license section for use guidelines,” notes GitHub.

The ‘about’ pages further state, “Because we are providing these policies to our community, we believe it is only responsible to also provide the history and insight that a repository of commits, pull requests and issues can offer. Over time, the repository’s commits, pull requests, and issues will allow anyone wanting to use our policies to see the discussions and alterations that have gone into them.”

It’s not just open policy, its open history of policy creation. It’s a beautiful thing.


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  • atlassiancharlie
    While I applaud this move, this is not revolutionary. Wikipedia did it almost ten years ago.
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