From: David Abrahams (dave_at_[hidden])
Date: 2006-09-22 00:36:31
Sadly for us, Boost lost its lawyer today. Devin Smith has done
wonderful work for us over the past few years, and I thank him both
personally and on behalf of the Boost community. Quite unexpectedly
even for Devin, he's found a new position as an in-house lawyer with a
Pharmaceutical firm, and is moving on to greener pastures.
I met Devin through contacts at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet
and Society, when we were trying to establish a single standard Boost
license. At a time when interest in Boost was growing faster than
ever, our myriad licenses presented a barrier to adoption that could
have been fatal to our mission. Without broad adoption, it's
impossible to establish existing practice suitable for incorporation
into the C++ standard.
Devin seemed to "get" our needs in a way the other lawyers had not,
and has been able to address them with quick intelligence, clarity,
and straightforwardness. Those abilities are reflected in our
license, which captures the intention of Boost while covering all the
necessary legal bases. I don't think it's exaggerating to say that
the result is a crucial platform on which our future depends.
You probably know that all of Devin's work for Boost has been pro-bono
-- if I understand correctly, all lawyers are obliged to do some --
you may not know that sometime last year, Devin's firm set up rules
about what kinds of clients could qualify for pro-bono service,
shifting the emphasis more towards social justice issues and
traditional charities. In that context, free software doesn't quite
make the cut. Devin has therefore been squeezing in Boost work
voluntarily on the side, pursuing OSI license approval and tirelessly
fielding tedious questions from potential users and their lawyers.
Even though that had to be the least rewarding part of his work for
us, Devin patiently answered every question, sometimes taking
conference calls just to explain the license text.
Devin has offered to try to help us find new representation (no
guarantees, though). I'm also going to check back in with the Berkman
Center; it'll definitely be important for us to have representation
that undestands the open source world. We'll be very, very lucky if
we can find anyone as capable and interested in our situation as Devin
Devin, the very best of luck with your new position. Boost will
always be grateful for your essential contribution.
-- Dave Abrahams Boost Consulting www.boost-consulting.com
Boost list run by bdawes at acm.org, gregod at cs.rpi.edu, cpdaniel at pacbell.net, john at johnmaddock.co.uk