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From Kay Schenk <>
Subject Re: OSBA Office Interoperability Workshop last week
Date Mon, 04 Nov 2013 22:38:36 GMT
On Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 7:53 AM, Jürgen Schmidt <>wrote:

> Hi,
> I would like to inform you about my attendance of a workshop from the
> OSBA [1] to discuss a potential future project to improve the
> interoperability of OpenOffice/LibreOffice with the also standardized
> file format OOXML. But also with focus on an improved and a standardized
> change tracking proposal.
> I attended as individual AOO member and IBM representative. I made clear
> that I am no official spoke person for AOO and explained once more that
> we don't really have a hierarchy or formal leaders.
> One part of the workshop was to review the first project [2] which was a
> success for open source but not directly for OpenOffice. We know all
> that the patches are not yet integrated in AOO. I reported that I have
> informed the AOO project/community about the availability [3] of the
> related patches but that nobody has worked on it so far. And that it is
> not easy without having access to the test documents.
> Svante Schubert gave a good overview presentation about the change
> tracking proposal that is currently discussed and proposed in the
> related OASIS sub committee. All attendees agreed more or less that it
> is important to have it more formalized and be part of the ODF standard.
> Funding to work on the ODF specification is one aspect ...
> During the workshop new problems were reported and feature requests
> communicated. This will be me worked out in detail and new use-case
> specifications will be prepared similar to the first project. When they
> are available I will share them with the community. Interested
> developers and companies can give an offer to work on the implementation
> later, similar to the first project.
> A further important point was the potential collaboration between
> OpenOffice and LibreOffice at least on source code level. Some of the
> sponsors of the first project were not 100% satisfied because they can't
> benefit from the work they have paid for which I can understand. The
> availability of patches under ALv2 is not enough to have them
> integrated. The integration work have to be done and ideally from the
> people who were paid for. Or at least in time and in collaboration with
> other volunteers. Anyway something that will be probably improved in the
> future.
> Jan Holosevsky from Collabora and a developer on LO and me as a
> developer from AOO were asked about a proposal/idea how such a
> collaboration can happen. We all know that it is not so easy to answer
> and that it comes quite fast to an ideological and political discussion.
> I simply tried to explain the situation we already have today. In detail
> I showed the code flow from AOO to LO and the dependency of LO to AOO
> since their rebase. They mirror our svn repos and merge fixes and
> features on a regular basis into their code. And most of their source
> code is under the ALV2 because you can't remove the license. You can
> only add additional licenses for significant changes you made in a
> source file. As one possible way for collaboration I proposed to work
> more directly on the same code base. And that the TDF could continue to
> provide binaries and could continue with their community work they are
> doing today (I like of course many things they doing). The only
> requirement would be to work together on the same code and contribute
> the changes upstream. I believe this would make most sense and the
> resources in both project would be used more efficient. And the most
> important point from my point of view it would reflect the main idea of
> open source and would benefit the open source spirit.
> Jan Holesovsky with backing from Simon Phipps proposed that we could use
> LO code which is under MPLv2. As a reminder the additional MPLv2 is the
> result of their rebasing work against the AOO code base after our first
> official release AOO 3.4.1. Well I found not very much information about
> the exact licensing on their webpage, mainly LGPLv3. And no reference
> that at least major parts of their code is under ALv2 today. At least to
> me it looks quite confusing and I am happy that we have it much clearer
> today.
> But back to the proposal I have to confess that I don't really
> understand how this should work in detail. MPL is category-b and we can
> link against it but we can't host any MPL code in our repo. And it would
> work on completely new code only that is quite well encapsulated  and
> modularized. It can be potentially an option for some of their new
> filters but that have to be checked in detail and is only one aspect. We
> talk about million lines of code mainly.
> It was also mentioned that mixing of ALv2 and MPL code is possible in
> general and that it is more a problem of the ASF and the processes
> applied to projects here at Aapche. I was thinking what it should mean,
> confuse people even more or an indirect recommendation that OpenOffice
> should be hosted somewhere else? I stopped thinking about it because
> it's out of scope I think.
> If people think I misunderstood things or summarized it incorrect,
> please feel free to correct me or add missing information.
> I shared this with you because AOO is a community project and such
> discussion have to be discussed with the community in the end anyway. I
> found it interesting to learn from their experience of the first project
> and to learn what the problems of real users are. It was interesting to
> see that people from more the outside of the projects are interested to
> force or seek ways for collaboration on the same common goal, that is
> the best free office productivity suite. Well they belong to the project
> as users and are very important because without users we wouldn't have
> neither AOO nor LO.
> More information will be shared when it becomes available. And hopefully
> some volunteers are interested to start working on the OSBA patches to
> get as much as possible out of them.
> Juergen
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]
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Thank you for this very important post.

The world of open source licenses is indeed difficult to understand at
times, and I know you have had many exchanges with ASF legal on this one.

I hope the licensing issues can be resolved.

For what's it worth, a link to the MPLv2 licensing page:


“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
 Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”
                          -- Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

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