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From Pedro Giffuni <>
Subject Re: GPL'd dictionaries (was Re:
Date Sun, 06 Nov 2011 20:06:24 GMT
Thank you Andrea!

--- On Sun, 11/6/11, Andrea Pescetti <> wrote:

> wrote:
> > 2011/11/5 Pedro Giffuni
> >> I have been looking at the situation of the
> dictionaries,
> >> and particular the italian dictionary.
> >> You are right that it will not be covered by the
> SGA.
> Sure, and to be more precise there are no portions of which
> Oracle has the copyright in the Italian dictionary. And we
> are discussing about three completeley separate tools (this
> is true of all languages): a dictionary (used for
> spell-checking), a thesaurus (for synonyms) and hyphenations
> patterns. Each has its own licence and copyright holders; in
> most cases, hyphenation patterns come from the LaTeX
> project.
> >> Perhaps more worrying is that the italian dictionary is
> >> the only dictionary under the GPL; most others are triple
> >> licensed (LGPL/MPL/GPL).
> >> We are not allowed to use it, so it will be removed
> >> from the SVN server for sure.
> The fundamental thing to consider here is that dictionaries
> cannot be considered like libraries, for the following
> reasons:

Hmm... libraries are also data, at least that's been always
the position of the FSF. My question here is, why are you
using a software license if you don't think most of it's
provisions apply. Shouldn't you use Creative Commons
license, or the GNU FDL instead?

> The existing Apache policy probably assumes that we are
> talking about code and that the (L)GPL libraries constitute
> a dependency, and it was probably built by examining what
> the implications of (L)GPL components would have been in
> that case. But this is a much different situation.

We have the same issue with fonts: the so-called "liberation"
fonts are GPL'd plus exceptions. My personal opinion here is
that it's a nonsense to pretend to use the GPL on stuff that
is not software and such an inconsistency should be fixed
upstream and is not something that should be "fixed" in ASF

> >> I am not a lawyer and I don't have any idea how
> the
> >> GPL could be enforced in this case, but things are
> not nice.
> I can't understand these worries about enforcing the GPL.
> We even got an answer from the Free Software Foundation that
> said it is absolutely OK to include GPL dictionaries into
>, since it is "mere aggregation"; see the
> (long) story in

Thank you, what the FSF thinks we should do is of little
value here, but it is interesting nevertheless :).

When I read the GPLv2, it was interesting to note that
the GPL applies to distribution, not to use, so once you
have the independent package in your hands whatever you do
with it is your business. Still we can't distribute it but
linux/BSD distributions can. The problem is that the
majority of OOo users out there use Windows :(.

> > We've discussed a lot about this issue, but 
> there isn't any consensus yet
> > about *how *to solve the problem, in a pragmatic way
> that doesn't include a
> > license change.
> Gianluca is right, in our situation we won't be able to
> change the license of the dictionary and thesaurus (at
> least, not to Apache License); we might get the hyphenation
> patterns released under the Apache License, but since
> virtually all of them are taken from the LaTeX project it's
> probably better that the legal team checks whether it's fine
> to import from the LaTeX project with the existing license.
> > An AOOo without a native language GUI and linguistic
> tools would be just
> > useless outside the anglosaxon world and, indeed, a
> rather disastrous
> > presentation of the new project for people who don't
> speak English.
> Sure, especially considering that the project description
> says that supports 110 languages...
> What I would recommend is:
> 1) Recheck the Apache policy and find out the rationale
> behind it; I have nothing to teach to the legal team, but
> this is a very rare case where the "virality" of GPL does
> not apply.

As noted above, I think this is a no-go. Again, I am no
lawyer so do go ahead and discuss the issue with legal@ . 

> 2) See if we can find a way to keep dictionaries as they
> are; note that no dictionary is developed in the OOo trunk,
> they are synchronized from time to time, usually before a
> release; the Italian dictionary SVN trunk, for example, is
> not in the OOo sources. Even just the possibility to provide
> an extension that can be included in binary releases would
> be OK for me.

On the thread concerning dmake one of our mentors was
absolutely clear on this point: in order to graduate
nothing on SVN can use a incompatible license. It is also
clear that Apache Extras is not to be used to circumvent
ASF policies so I don't see how we can include a GPL'd
dictionary on the official Apache release.

> 3) If there is really no way to include a GPL extension
> this way, then we should think about downloading the
> extension at installation time. But we managed to get Sun
> and the FSF agree to ship dictionaries in the most
> convenient way (i.e., included in the installer), so we
> might succeed this time as well.

I wish you luck.. I really do. For me the Italian dictionary
is more important than English, Spanish or French.


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