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

Wols Lists antlists at youngman.org.uk
Thu Nov 25 16:23:05 PST 2010

On 25/11/10 16:44, Michael Meeks wrote:
> Hi Wols,
> On Thu, 2010-11-25 at 16:31 +0000, Wols Lists wrote:
>> Have we got a standard LibreOffice header to go into new files ?
> 	Yes COPYING.NEWFILES in the toplevel has the stock header.

With no place for people who make MAJOR alterations to the file to add
their own copyright ... :-)

That just doesn't feel quite right to me. Oh well.
>>  If not, I'm quite happy to craft one, along with a policy that tells people what
>> to do and how we expect them to claim any relevant copyrights. And yes,
>> I would very much take into considerations concerns about keeping the
>> list of people low, we don't want too many names in the files or too
>> many licences in the licence file. Basically, minor changes you have to
>> look at git, licences mustn't explicitly name a copyright holder.
> 	Really; not mixing licenses within the same file is much to be
> preferred; and if people insist on XYZ crazy-license, to have LGPLv3
> +/MPL/<crazy-license> as a triple would be best.

Couple of other points - reading COPYING.NEWFILES it comes over as the
main licence is MPL1.1, yet there's no COPYING.MPL file. Should that be
added? Plus I get the impression the main licence is meant to be LGPL :-)

Personally, I also find putting the licence in the COPYING file a bit
weird, but lilypond does exactly the same, so I guess that's normal
practice :-)

Lilypond also has a LICENCE file which actually grants the licence
(without it saying somewhere that it actually applies to the code,
there's no point having a COPYING file containing the GPL or whatever -
yes I know it's in the individual files :-) - shouldn't we also have a
LICENCE file saying that those three licences apply to the entire project?

And I didn't know about COPYING.NEWFILES until you pointed me at it
(yes, I know, I should have done a top level ls and investigated :-) but
there's nothing I can see to say that it's meant to be used for new
files ... given that COPYING files contain licence text, it doesn't
compute that COPYING.NEWFILES contains a template licence grant :-)

I know that in the "old days" all this stuff didn't matter, because
Sun/Oracle required a copyright assignment, but I would have thought
having some form of written policy in place as soon as possible makes
sense. Should I try and codify it as a copyright section on
http://www.documentfoundation.org/develop/ and in a HACKING file, or
would you rather I just went away and left this topic alone? (I don't
want to dive into something that is bound to be contentious without some
backing by others, but this is an itch I'd happily scratch :-).

My ideas basically are:
(a) is the main licence LGPL or MPL - that needs to be made clear -
Oracle's code is LGPL so are we trying to move to MPL or just adding it
as an option?
(b) clarify that only major contributions should merit a copyright
mention in the source files
(c) clarify that git is the primary/definitive source of copyright info
(d) provide guidelines on how to edit the copyright header - for example
what happens if you're doing a major refactor of Oracle and new source ...


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