cvs commit: src/sys/amd64/amd64 pmap.c src/sys/i386/i386 pmap.c [NDA's]

Nate Lawson nate at
Thu Apr 26 16:19:00 UTC 2007

Sam Leffler wrote:
> Yar Tikhiy wrote:
>> Was the change based on a document under NDA?  Then this case raises
>> an interesting question: to what extent an open source developer
>> is allowed to explain his code that was based on a document under
>> NDA?  Of course, it should depend on the NDA, but I suspect that a
>> typical NDA requires a lawyer to interpret it unambiguously (I've
>> never signed one by myself), and an overcautious lawyer would say
>> that the open source code itself violates the NDA because anybody
>> can RTFS. :-)
> NDA's are negotiable.  I've signed plenty and am very careful to
> structure them so that when the work product is to be released to the
> open source community there is no confusion about whether information
> may or may not be disclosed.  Companies that work with the open source
> community but require NDA's typically use them to control premature
> release of information and restrict related information (e.g. product
> plans).  In my experience companies often mark documents w/ an NDA
> because they don't want to have to deal with the liability of a doc
> having mistakes and because they don't want to deal with random folks
> badgering them for support when they can't understand what's written.
> The key to working with companies is always to establish a level of
> trust and a relationship with people that work there.  Everything else
> falls out as a result.

Nicely put.  Since developers tend to focus on legal stuff so much, I'd
like to add that an NDA is a contract.  A contract only is used one way,
as part of a lawsuit.  (Establishing a contract helps clarify things,
but enforcement only happens through a suit.)  In nearly all cases, if
you're being sued, something else went wrong along the way in the
relationship.  And that's what you should be most focused on is avoiding
the relationship problem in the first place, even with people who you
don't have a contract with.


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