NetBSD’s New Policy: No Place for AI-Created Code

NetBSD bans AI-generated code to preserve clear copyright and meet licensing goals.

Last month, Gentoo officially opposed using AI-generated code in their distribution. Now, NetBSD, an OS part of the Unix-like BSD family, has announced a stringent policy regarding code generated by AI technologies, including large language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and GitHub/Microsoft’s Copilot.

“New development policy: code generated by a large language model or similar technology (e.g. ChatGPT, GitHub Copilot) is presumed to be tainted (i.e. of unclear copyright, not fitting NetBSD’s licensing goals) and cannot be committed to NetBSD.”

Under the new guidelines, NetBSD has classified AI-generated code as “tainted,” indicating that such code is presumed to have uncertain copyright and licensing status and cannot be committed to the NetBSD repository.

Developers are now required to ensure that any code is either authored initially by themselves or comes with clear permissions and provenance. The process involves verifying that the code’s license allows free import into and distribution through the NetBSD source repository.

Further complicating the integration of AI-generated solutions, the guidelines mandate developers secure written approval from core team members before incorporating any such code. This step is designed to prevent potential legal and ethical issues stemming from AI’s ability to amalgamate code from diverse, sometimes proprietary, sources.

Finally, however, we should note that it is currently impossible to definitively prove whether a piece of code was created by a human or produced by AI. Nevertheless, implementing this policy highlights the NetBSD developers’ commitment to maintaining clear and free distribution.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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