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

Gioele Barabucci gioele at svario.it
Thu Nov 25 06:44:42 PST 2010

Wols Lists 25/11/2010 14:21:
> 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".

"Major" is quite hard to define, I'd say impossible, given that almost 
every contry has its own threshold for what is and what isn't a "major 

My take is: whoever made a commit to a file should be in the list of the 
authors for a file. There can be problems with people trying to "sneak 
in the authors' list", as Michael Meeks pointed out. But that is just 
unavoidable, just be careful with what patches you accept.

Git can help you track down the authors (and there should be automated 
tools to do that; in my spare time I'm working on one) but there should 
also be external bookkeepers for pre-git commits and for commits not 
made by the original author.

> 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 :-)

That is the exact reason I wanted to use the ISC license. But if somehow 
that makes things harder to integrate and maintain...

> 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?

The problems usually arise with the contribution of non-BSD patches on 
top of BSD patches that are on top of other non-BSD patches. Go figure 
it out what are you contributing to.

> 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 :-)

I could not agree more ;)

Gioele Barabucci <gioele at svario.it>

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