When I was in college I knew a very talented CS major who graduated and was immediately hired by IBM as a programmer. He told me that when he started the terms you described were very clearly laid out for him, that essentially IBM owned any idea he had... even if he thought up a novel solution to a problem while taking a shower, IBM owned it. (This was in Texas, about 10 years ago, BTW.)
As you can imagine this puts quite a damper on similarly situated employees such as yourself. However, this same guy said that this was the reason why many of the other programmers he worked with had "extremely talented spouses." Just because your employer owns YOU doesn't mean they own your wife. Ya wanna contribute to CPAN? Wanna release some cool groovy stuff? Release it under your wife's name and you're all set.
Of course, this assumes you trust your wife, but when it comes to Open Source stuff that doesn't really matter, right? You give up some level of notoriety doing it this way, but hey, what choice do you have?
Me, I'm an hourly employee of the Federal Government, which means the government only owns the stuff that I create on government time... and the really cool thing is even the stuff that the government owns is still releasable to the Public Domain because it was created with taxpayer dollars (and isn't otherwise secret or restricted.)
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