[Libreoffice] Are ISC/BSD-licensed contributions acceptable?

Wols Lists antlists at youngman.org.uk
Thu Nov 25 05:21:33 PST 2010

On 23/11/10 15:15, Sebastian Spaeth wrote:
> While I personally don't mind BSD licenses, I don't think this helps
> your goal. The code is bound to be merged, overwritten, copied, moved
> and edited. Tracking which line of code is licensed under which license
> combo is a job for lawyer detectives that nobody wants to pay in the
> end. And most probably they could not give you definitive answers anyway
> as that case has never been tested in court in $LEGAL_DISTRICT. Pfeew.

But that's the point of using something like git :-)

> Can't we just bite our tongues and stick to as simple (ie dual license
> although I still don't see the use case for the MPL here) licensing
> scheme? For historical reasons we cannot go BSD, so we should go for the
> next best thing and use the very liberal LGPL consistently IMHO. Adding
> in bits of even more liberal license pieces isn't going to help the
> whole legal clarity and ease of sharing argument here.

Provided we have a policy that says "the project licence is X, all
contributions must be compatible" I don't see that it matters WHAT
licence contributors use. If the project policy is LGPL3+, then I don't
think it actually makes a blind bit of difference what other licences
people use.

It's tricky, but imho the rule should be if you make a major
contribution to a file then you add your copyright notice. In general,
patches, fixes, etc shouldn't. And possibly we add a line that says
"copyright assorted contributors - see git history for details".

BUT. As far as my contributions so far are concerned I don't even know
if they are significant enough to be worthy of copyright! If I was asked
to assign a licence I would say BSD but even that's overkill for what I
think they're worth :-)

> Sorry, could not resist
> Sebastian
We want to get it right. If not, we could be storing up legal trouble
down the line. But at the end of the day, if the consensus is that we
want to be an LGPL project, then simply saying "all contributions must
be LGPL3+ compatible" keeps us out of trouble. If contributors want to
use BSD etc why should we care? And if third parties want to extract
said BSD code, why should we make their life easy (or hard :-) ? If they
want the code, it's their problem :-)


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