Are there other benefits to the Terms of Use and API Agreement for FOSS developers?

In addition to data integrity, we’re interested in helping to protect developers’ privacy. Open Hub does not publish developers’ email addresses, but given a code repository URL and a committer ID, both of which are available from Open Hub, it is possible for someone to invade that corresponding person’s privacy. This has always been possible with publicly accessible code repositories entirely without Open Hub, and there are many vital use cases for Open Hub data that argue against fully anonymizing data from the API.

Open Hub doesn’t cause any privacy problems that aren’t already inherent in an open development model. But by making it easy to access and sort through huge numbers of committer IDs, Open Hub could potentially be used by the wrong people for the wrong things. Our Terms of Use and API Agreement give us the ability to control this, and while we can’t promise that someone’s email won’t be misused as a result of their contributing to FOSS, we can stop someone from using our servers to do it. That seems like a good idea to us!

Posted in: Using the Data

About Rich Sands

I'm the Principal and Founder of RSands Consulting, a developer/FOSS strategy, product management, and marketing consultancy. Formerly Ohloh's PM, Black Duck is now a client of mine.