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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: An example of the license problems we're going to face
Date Tue, 30 Aug 2011 16:31:18 GMT
On Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 12:00 PM, Frank Peters
<> wrote:
> [...]
>> 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.
> IIRC CC licensed docs are under CC-BY, not CC-BY-SA,
> hence not copylefted, see

You are correct.  ODFAuthors is dual licensed, including CC-BY 3.0.
However, CC-BY 3.0 is on the approved list for Apache.  I raised this
to the legal-discuss list a while ago for review.  It is still
unresolved.  My impression from following that discussion was that
there were some issues with CC-BY 3.0, in particular the anti-DRM
provision.  In any case, I don't see why we want to be clever with
license choice for future documentation contributions.  We should be
seeking ALv2 for everything.

>> 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].
> We could just rewrite the building guide and put it under AL.

Yes, that is probably true.  But then what do we do to ensure that it
remains under ALv2, i.e., that no one contributes to it under other
licenses?  It is similar to the code cleanliness issue:  we can accept
small contributions (patches) under ALv2, and larger contributions
with a signed iCLA.

> [...]
>> 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
> In the past, this was no mistake but a prerequisite for docs.

True, at the time, when OOo was only LGPL it was a reasonable choice.
My point is that the situation is now different and the prior choices
will lead to problems.

>> the core project documentation is developed and maintained under the
>> ALv2 license.
> I thought this was a given anyway?

I'm not seeing this as generally acknowledged.  I'm hearing some
project members argue that the community wiki should remain outside of
the project, not subject to ALv2 and committer review.  That's why I'm
raising this point, with a concrete example of the build instructions.
 The wiki was not used just for random community contributions.  It
was used pervasively throughout the project, for core functions as

Just as we are reviewing the source code to remove/replace
incompatibly licensed software libraries, we should be thinking of the
documentation set that should be part of a release, and ensure that we
have a set that we may include in a release.

> As to user docs produced by the ODFAuthors we need to ask them to
> dual-license as they did for OOo, but I am not sure if their
> current practice to publish under CC-BY would be sufficient anyway
> (see above).

As mentioned, the CC-BY 3.0 license was under review on the
legal-discuss list.  But some issues were raised with the anti-DRM
provisions.  ALv2 does not have that restriction.  A hypothetical for
why this could be important:  Suppose someone wants to take parts of
the AOOo code, along with the associated documentation, and create an
iPhone app from it.  The ALv2 would permit them to do this with the
source code, but CC-BY 3.0 would not allow the same for the
documentation.  Similarly, one could not take the documentation, add
value to with additional content, and then sell it for $0.99 for the
Amazon Kindle.  Things like that.  Although CC-BY is not copyleft, it
does have some restrictions that put constraints on users that go
beyond ALv2.

> Frank

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