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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <>
Subject RE: An example of the license problems we're going to face
Date Tue, 30 Aug 2011 17:22:27 GMT
Rob, this is really simple.

We have no rights other than what are conferred by the licenses and notices on those works
you wish to be able to include in distributions.

Since you believe they don't permit what you want, we can't do what you want with them.

Deal with it.

Now, if you propose to keep those works off of the incubator web site because they are toxic
(let's suppose), then there is another reason for making sure that stays
up and alive so the materials can continue to be found there until satisfactory alternatives
appear, if ever.

 - Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Rob Weir
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 10:05
Subject: Re: An example of the license problems we're going to face

On Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 12:45 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton
<> wrote:
> I think these are non-problems in the sense that we do not have the rights to do anything
with works not under the SGA beyond what are provided for in the notices and licenses on those

There is a problem.  Let me spell it out, in case it was not clear:

1) We should be aiming for releases, including source code releases,
that are useful as releases, meaning that the recipients of such
releases can make practical use of these releases under the rights
given to them by the ALv2.

2) Some of the pieces that necessary to make practical use of the
releases are under incompatible licenses, including copyleft licenses.
 This includes source code modules, but also documentation.

3) Such incompatibly licensed materials, where necessarily for
successful use of a release, whether source or documentation, need to
be identified and replaced.

4) We also need procedures in place to ensure that source and
documentation are not in future contaminated by incompatibly (or
ambiguously) licensed contributions.  We seem to have adequate
safeguards in place for source code.  The same is not true for

> If we want anything else, we need to refer to them (as you observe), request a grant
of some form, request republishing of those works under a friendly license by their authors,
or produce our own non-infringing works.


> From our perspective, these are all third party works and we simply have to deal with
it, just like we deal with third-party code in the code base that is not acceptable
in an ASF release.

I'm not disputed the existence of the status quo.  I'm arguing for
changes going forward,

> This is an ordinary situation.  It is not a podling IP clearance problem the way that
the initial code contribution is.

To the extent such material is necessary to the successful use of a
release and exercise of the ALv2 license, it is an issue.   So if some
random piece of documentation on "10 neat things about OOo" is on the
community wiki, under PDL, then I don't have a problem with that.  But
when the build instructions are under PDL, then this is a problem,
since without that no one can make effective use of a source release.

> Regardless of the extent to which we would rather be gifted such material under a permissive
license grant, it is that ambition which is a problem if it blinds us to dealing with these
cases in the flexible manner that this state of affairs always requires.

If by "flexible" you mean that we would have essential documentation
needed to make use of a release under an incompatible license, then
yes, I would urge less flexibility.

> I say support preservation of the materials where they are, loosely couple to/with them,
and foster small steps to moving the boundaries in ways that serve us, the broad external
community, and the will of the third parties as we mature the podling toward incubation.

That is fine.  But I'd separate the content migration from the
procedural migrations.  I think we want to immediately institute such
changes necessary to ensure that future core documentation
contributions are under a compatible license.  The existing content
may move over to that license, with permission of the original
authors, where they can be identified, or replaced over time.

>  - Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rob Weir []
> Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 08:34
> To:
> Subject: An example of the license problems we're going to face
> As far as I know, all Apache projects have source releases.  Some also
> have binary releases.  I expect we will have both.
> OOo, since it was LGPL, could assume a copyleft orientation for
> source, documentation, templates, binaries, etc.  Everything was
> copyleft, meaning if someone modified these materials, any
> distributions of it must be accompanied by the changes, and have the
> same copyleft license.
> With Apache, our releases are under the Apache 2.0 license. This is
> not a copyleft license.  Apache code can be modified and republished
> without making the changes also available under an open source
> license.
> The Oracle SGA puts the Apache 2.0 license on the files from OOo that
> Sun/Oracle had rights to under the various forms of their contributor
> agreements.  This predominantly covered source code.  But it did not
> cover project documentation.  Documentation was generally under the
> copyleft Public Documentation License (PDL) or CC BY-A.
> This is going to cause us problems.  A specific example.  The main
> build instructions for are in a PDL-licensed  Building
> Guide document [1].  This means that our own source code releases are
> unable to be accompanied by instructions on how to build the product.
> This is quite odd, compared to most other projects, say SVN, which
> include build instructions with their source releases [2].
> Of course, we can have a README file in our source releases that
> points to the PDL Building Guide.  That may seem to solve the problem,
> but it really doesn't.  We've now placed copyleft restrictions on
> downstream consumers that might want to modify the source code, and as
> part of those modifications also modify the build instructions.  We've
> now placed additional constraints on them, beyond Apache 2.0,  for how
> they can use the release.
> This is not an isolated occurrence.  If I'm reading this [3]
> correctly, there are thousands of pieces of documentation that are
> under PDL.  This is not all "community" or "wiki" stuff that we can
> just pass off as something that loosely affiliated folks do in an
> uncoordinated fashion, without joining the project, under a license of
> their preference  This is the core blood of the project, how to use
> the product, how to build the product, how to test the product, how to
> customize the product, etc.
> As I've said before, we can't change the past.  But we can prevent
> repeating past mistakes.  We need to ensure that in the future that
> the core project documentation is developed and maintained under the
> ALv2 license.  A good question to ask is this:  If a downstream
> consumer wanted to use our source release, to build and distribute a
> customized version of AOOo, could they do that successfully?  Or would
> they be severely constrained and find that our releases are actually
> missing essential documentation files without which AOOo cannot be
> used?
> -Rob
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]

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