Incorporating a fork's contributions into your own repo — permission required?
This question might be closed, but honestly, I have no idea where else to ask it. It seems silly, but I think could become quite serious if not handled correctly.
The scenario is this.
Someone has forked your repository on Github. They have implemented a standard that you are really interested in and want to apply it to your own repository, although this person has left no contact information.
Should you go ahead and add that person’s implementation to your own repository? (obviously giving the author credit on his implementation)
Is there away to mention this person in your commit message?
Should you back off and not worry about it because that person’s forked repo is their own?
I suppose there is no easy answer, I am just looking for someone who has perhaps had experience with this issue to give their best advice.
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There is, indeed, an easy answer. All projects on Github are recommended to have a license — for public repositories, that is usually an open source license (or otherwise having the source public doesn’t make much sense).
While the details may vary, those licenses usually allow you to use (and possibly modify) the source while giving adequate credit.
Git (and Github, especially with forks), makes this easy. You pull in the commit(s) from the fork into your own repo’s history. The committer information will be maintained, thus providing credit to who first introduced the code into the aggregate histories.
So basically, unless their license restricts you from using their code without permission, you can include their changes into your own repo. Talking to them is always a good idea (remember that every Git commit must contain an email address, so you can easily find out their contact details), but for FOSS not always necessary.
On Github, you can also use the Issues feature of a repo (if enabled) to contact them and ask about this.