[Libreoffice] LibreOffice licensing

Kohei Yoshida kyoshida at novell.com
Mon Jun 6 12:42:54 PDT 2011

On Mon, 2011-06-06 at 12:32 -0700, BRM wrote:
> ----- Original Message ----
> > From: Kohei Yoshida <kyoshida at novell.com>
> > To: BRM <bm_witness at yahoo.com>
> > Cc: libreoffice at lists.freedesktop.org
> > Sent: Mon, June 6, 2011 11:44:37 AM
> > Subject: Re: [Libreoffice] LibreOffice licensing
> > 
> > On Mon, 2011-06-06 at 07:39 -0700, BRM wrote:
> > 
> > > 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).
> > 
> > Not entirely correct.  The  source has to be made available to the legal
> > recipients of the binary.   Whether or not they are customers is
> > irrelevant in this context.
> When dealing with a proprietary product, they are one-in-the-same, however they 
> present the EULA.

Not one-in-the-same (sic).  But I think we are talking past each other,
so I won't discuss any further.  Your statement already implies that
they are not exactly the same.

> > >  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.   But we can certainly ask for the source if we are interested, and
> > they are  obligated to provide it if we have (legally) received the
> > binary, under the  same license as the original source code.  This is a
> > very important  point.
> As you pointed out - only if you have a _legal_ right to ask.
> That won't likely be the case though unless you are their customer.

Beta test, evaluation versions, demos etc..?  There are a number of ways
of obtaining the binary legally without being a customer.

> Yes, they can't prevent you from distributing the GPL/LGPL/MPL portion of the 
> work; but they could prevent you from distributing their additions to the degree 
> that the MPL/GPL/LGPL derivative work restrictions apply, if at all.
> > > Sure, it works best when they do as everyone benefits, but  they are not 
> > > _required_ to do so.
> > 
> > I wouldn't put it that  way.  It works better for the downstream
> > maintainers if they upstream  their work, to make it easier to maintain
> > their own modifications.  If  they think the benefit outweighs the cost
> > of upstreaming, then they have  every right not to upstream their
> > changes.
> > 
> > > 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, 
> > >  LGPL/GPL/MPL.
> > 
> > I don't think it is overlooked, but is already  implied.
> Overlooked b/c of the nature of the statement. Your next response goes to show 
> it...

I don't understand the connection.

> Only if the end-user obtains the source to provide to the developer.

Of course.

> The developer may not necessarily be granted the right by the proprietary 
> distributor to get direct access to the source.

> So I still maintain that it is "end-users" and not _necessarily_ "developers" 
> that Copy-left is about.

Ok.  This is already becoming a meaningless word game.  My point
basically is that the distinction between the end users and developers
are not necessarily clear cut when talking about copy-left licenses.  No
more no less.  And I believe, based on what you said you also agree with

> However, if I as a developer come along and tell them that I could add some 
> feature to it, they would need to ask for and obtain the source code for me if 
> that was necessary.

Of course.  I never said that the developers didn't have to get the
source code to service the software.

Anyway, this is already off-topic here on this list.  I suggest we end
this thread here, and if anybody is interested on pursuing this, take it
to a more appropriate list.


Kohei Yoshida, LibreOffice hacker, Calc
<kyoshida at novell.com>

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