From our own perspective, the purpose of Contributing Code to MySQL is:
- to drive more fixes by the community to simple bugs, i.e. fix more bugs quicker
- to get more contributions in the form of new features, i.e. offer more features for our users
- to breed a larger recruitment base of developers familiar with MySQL both for our users and ourselves
We believe that people contributing to MySQL are somehow scratching their own itch. Likely reasons why developers contribute to MySQL are
- to avoid having to maintain their patch, which they wrote just in order to fix their own problem with MySQL
- to increase their market value for recruitments, not just by Oracle but by any company
- to get feedback and users for their projects, by using MySQL as the wide-spread fundament of their (academic, research) project
We acknowledge that especially Category 1 people (and companies) consider all administrative work to be bureaucracy. This is why we keep the paperwork and legalese to a minimum.
Contributors are required to sign the Oracle Contributor Agreement (OCA) when contributing code to Oracle. The OCA is a short legal agreement which protects both you as a contributor and Oracle from legal attack. By signing the OCA, you agree that Oracle is legally allowed to use your code in Oracle software and that the code is, to the best of your knowledge, unencumbered by any patent issues. Here you can find some Legal help.
A copy of the most recent version of the OCA can be found here.