User:MGorny/GCO real name requirement

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The Gentoo copyright policy requires all committers to sign a Certificate of Origin using their legal name as a natural person, i.e., the name that would appear in a government issued document. This page provides some additional explanation on how that name should look like, and how to verify it. This pertains to the name used in the signed-off-by line only, and NOT the name used for the copyright holder (which may be a company, trademark, service mark and other variations).


The Certificate of Origin is a statement of will directed to all Gentoo users. As such, we require it to be certified using the author's / committer's real name. Given that the code is public and the statement is to be transferred along with it, we also require the real name to be stated publicly.

What is a valid name?

We do not specify exact rules on acceptable legal names. The naming rules differ per country, and we presume you to know best what is acceptable for your nationality / location. At the same time, we expect you to be professional and not abuse this.

Only natural person names are acceptable. The following are not acceptable:

  • pseudonyms and fake names,
  • company names,
  • trademarks, service marks, etc.

If you have multiple valid names at a time, any of them may be used. If your name has multiple valid forms, any form considered valid can be used. However, due to implementation details Gentoo developers are required to settle on one name/form, provide it to recruiters and use it consistently afterwards.

How to verify a name?

Gentoo developers are not expected to possess detailed knowledge of naming rules or legal document verification. Generally, they should accept any 'reasonably looking' name without further ado. If they have doubts about its validity, they should ask the author to explicitly assert that it is his/her legal name, as defined above.

If there is a justified concern that the author is explicitly lying about this, the developer or recruiter should request the Trustees to make a final decision.

Escalation to Trustees

The Trustees shall discuss concerns about a name, in consultation with the author. As a general practice, the Trustees will not request to see any documentation (TODO: insert links to why policies that require showing ID are bad, including PII & GDPR concerns).