[Libreoffice] LibreOffice licensing

BRM bm_witness at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 6 07:39:14 PDT 2011

----- Original Message ----

> From: Jesús Corrius <jesus at softcatala.org>
> To: michael.meeks at novell.com
> Hi Michael,
> On Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 6:11 PM, Michael Meeks <michael.meeks at novell.com>  
> >
> > On Sat, 2011-06-04 at 08:48 -0400, Allen Pulsifer  wrote:
> >> 1. TDF takes OOo under the Apache License and combines it  with LO
> >> contributions under the LGPL/MPL and licenses the combined  work
> >> (LibreOffice) under both the LGPL and MPL?
> >
> >         So if we say MPLv2 and LGPLv3+ - that is fine; and the resulting 
> >  would be under those (compatible) licenses. Which are  copy-left.
> >
> >> 2. A third party takes OOo under the Apache  License and combines it with 
> >> contributions under the MPL and  proprietary closed-source code of its own 
> >> create a proprietary  closed-source product?
> >
> >        If they have changed the MPL code  modules - they need to release 
> > changes; otherwise (since the MPL  is a weak-copy-left) they can not
> > release other changes (like  extensions) they bundle - obviously.
> >
> >> That would not however  stop third parties from combining the
> >> Apache OpenOffice code with  LibreOffice code and doing with that whatever
> >> both licenses  allowed.
> >
> >        Sure - one example is IBM, they have a load of  MPL code, and even 
> > code in Lotus Symphony. Amusingly, IBM are far  more pragmatic in
> > practise than ASF is - one of the tragic ironies of  the situation.
> >
> I guess it would be useful to create a wiki page  with a FAQ about
> these license topics :)

Just remember, that even with LGPL/GPL the changes _do not have to be 
contributed back to the community_; only made available to the customers of that 
product upon request (per LGPL, GPL and MPL).
IOW, TDF may not necessarily get the contribution. It's just like any downstream 
project - they can modify it and don't necessarily have to contribute those 
modifications back to the upstream project.
Sure, it works best when they do as everyone benefits, but they are not 
_required_ to do so.

I only mention this, as it is often overlooked - and in comments like the above 
- by Meeks and others - they seem to forget that aspect about Copy-Left, 

So yes, someone could take LO code directly, make a downstream, proprietary 
product and sell it - and they only have to make the code to that proprietary 
version (whether it is identical to the LO version or modified) to those who 
have purchased their proprietary product. (MPL says for 12 months; FSF 
recommends per GPL/LGPL 3 years).

My point being that Allen is 100% correct, and copy-left does not prevent the 
situation you all seem to be so concerned about. Remember, Copy-Left is about 
the End-User, not the Developer.



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