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sr #109076: Request to move nano from gnu to nongnu

Submitter:  Benno Schulenberg <bens>
Submitted:  Wed 22 Jun 2016 05:34:28 PM UTC
Category:  Project webpages Priority:  5 - Normal
Severity:  3 - Normal Status:  None
Privacy:  Public Assigned to:  agn
Operating System:  None Open/Closed:  Closed
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Fri 17 Feb 2017 09:18:53 PM UTC, comment #7: 

nano stayed in gnu, closing.

Assaf Gordon <agn>
Site Administrator
Mon 05 Sep 2016 07:15:33 PM UTC, comment #6: 

Can be closed now.  The request has been retracted.  :)

Benno Schulenberg <bens>
Thu 23 Jun 2016 07:47:32 AM UTC, comment #5: 

Ah.  I had forgotten.  Discussion with Brandon took place last February [ #1082079].  He demanded two things.  1) That I agree to more than a hundred pages of text (GNU philosophy, coding standards, maintainer's manual, the lot).  2) That I assign copyright.

The first thing was too much to read.  (I did read a few things in the coding standards, and I couldn't agree with those, so the point was off anyway.)  And the second thing I didn't want to do, and appeared to be unnegotiable, because Brandon made no further replies.  So that's why I requested a move from gnu to nongnu.

The purpose is that I become an official maintainer of nano, so that I can make ftp uploads of release tarballs.

Benno Schulenberg <bens>
Wed 22 Jun 2016 09:17:00 PM UTC, comment #4: 

Assaf (and for posterity): there is no need to resend this mail anywhere, but for the future, such questions are best sent to, and nowhere else.  That group of people (currently led by Brandon) are the ones who have explicitly signed up to deal with issues like this.

This is remarked on in the GNU maintainers document, among other places.

Karl Berry <karl>
Site Administrator
Wed 22 Jun 2016 08:41:34 PM UTC, comment #3: 

Hello Assaf (and Alfred),

Yes your assumption is correct: it boils down to me being unwilling to assign copyright to the FSF.

So, I'll write a mail to gnu-advisory, after a bit more discussion with my co-maintainers.

Thanks for all the explaining, and the digging.  :)


Benno Schulenberg <bens>
Wed 22 Jun 2016 06:34:48 PM UTC, comment #2: 

FWIW, I forwarded this to Brandon Invergo <>; who usually takes care of issues like this these days.

But as Assaf notes, this should be brought up with gnu-advisory@, or with rms@ directly -- who is the person that decides what is or isn't a GNU project.

Alfred M. Szmidt <ams>
Wed 22 Jun 2016 06:22:16 PM UTC, comment #1: 

Hello Benno,

As a volunteer admin on savannah, I do not have the mandate the simply mark a gnu project as non-gnu
(same as I can not simply mark a project as officall 'gnu').
While the technical changes on the savannah servers change should be simple enough,
I would like to ask you to first write to either -email is unavailable- or -email is unavailable- or -email is unavailable- .
I assume that if this move is approved, they will send a confirmation message to our  the savannah admin private mailing list,
and then we can make the change on savannah.

It was a bit hard to find the reasons behind this move based on your mailing-list link.
Digging deeper, I assume the reasons are detailed here:
And they boil down the the requirement of copyright assignment
(seems like in general you do not object to the savannah's system or other major GNU issues).

<the following is my personal opinion, and in no way represents GNU or FSF>

A GNU project does not have to transfer copyright to FSF.

The "GNU Software Evaluation" page says:
"For a program to be GNU software does not require transferring copyright to the FSF;
that is a separate question. If you transfer the copyright to the FSF, the FSF will
enforce the GPL for the program if someone violates it;
if you keep the copyright, enforcement will be up to you."

The reasoning for choosing to assign copyrights are explained here:

In my GNU project ( ) the copyright is mine and not the FSF's,
and contributions do not require copyright assignment.

I assume that in GNU Nano's case, the administrators decided long ago the assign copyright to FSF, and this has been the case ever since.

Perhaps as a less drastic move,
NANO's maintainers can agree with the FSF to not assign copyrights any more (and not require it for future contributions) ?
(disclaimer: this is just my personal thought, I do not know what FSF thinks about it).

</personal opinion>

 - assaf

Assaf Gordon <agn>
Site Administrator
Wed 22 Jun 2016 05:34:28 PM UTC, original submission:  

The maintainers of GNU nano have decided to leave the herd, so to speak, as can be seen from this thread: .  We would like to keep using the Savannah infrastructure (bug tracker, git repo, and so on) and the three nano mailing lists.  (The archives of these lists seem to be accessible both under and, so I suppose nothing really needs to change there?  Just we need to update our references to them?)

So hereby I ask for the nano project ( to be moved from gnu to nongnu.

Benno Schulenberg <bens>


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    Date Changed by Updated Field Previous Value => Replaced by
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    2016-06-22 agn Assigned toNone agn

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