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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <>
Subject RE: [DISCUSS] Inappropriate "Compliance Costs"
Date Sat, 31 Jan 2015 18:06:34 GMT
I think the enumeration provided by Rob below is more grounded and conditional than the web
page itself.  

For me, the page itself is simply propaganda, as appealing as it is for those with an ideological
commitment to open-source development.  Whatever the facts it is based on, however true they
are, it lacks reality and context and, by omission, exaggerates how much this impacts anyone.

For example, it suggests, absent context, that Linux is a bad proposition because of the GPL.
 Likewise GNU Tools and the LAMP stack (not to mention issues for on-line services with some
GPL3 variants).  That leaves what? FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and other software based on permissive

I don't think there are many here who are satisfied with that conclusion and those concerns,
while happily running Debian/Ubuntu and other distributions as well as OpenSolaris, etc.

I can certainly understand why folks like Bradley Kuhn and those who have learned of his objections
are dismayed over this.  Note that Kuhn presents the "Compliance Costs" page
as being from "the Apache web site" and he uses it to suggest that the ASF has become copy-left
hostile.  Identification of the page with the ASF is a fact, too, if one looks at who hosts
the site and owns the domain name.  It fits his agenda to point that out (and not point out
that node.js is under a permissive license).  One can also see, then, how this situation elevated
onto the legal-discuss list.

In any case, my attention is going to be on Apache OpenOffice as an affirmative offering of
value, not contrast with suggested negatives.  AOO appeals to those who consider adoption
of AOO in support of their personal and office productivity needs.  They and their organizations
are supported by demonstrating how AOO can be relied upon as dependable and useful in their
actual circumstances.  I think that is the most important way to establish that an open-source
project has delivered something tangible and practical.
 - Dennis
-----Original Message-----
From: Rob Weir [] 
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2015 12:58
To:; <>
Subject: Re: [DISCUSS] Inappropriate "Compliance Costs"

On Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 3:36 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton <> wrote:
> Pedro and J├╝rgen,
> It is important to be concerned about false contrasts and comparisons.
> There is a risk, when we are essentially preaching to the choir, that we sink into some
sort of fundamentalist hyperbole as well.  It is satisfying, it is credible to us, and it
can be a mistake.  Facts are more nuanced than portrayed.  It is also unnecessary for the
voice of the project to be taken there.  There are many places where such matters can be discussed
without embroiling the project.

The page boils down to saying the following:

1) Companies that use commercially licensed software are exposed to
compliance risk that can be mitigated with time and expense.

2) Companies that use copyleft software are also exposed to compliance
risk that can be mitigated with time and expense.

3)  There is a class of open source licenses that represent a middle
path and avoid much of this risk.  The Apache License is one example.

4) Apache OpenOffice uses the Apache License, so if you are concerned
with the cost of license compliance you might want to look further
into using OpenOffice.

I'd argue that this is a factual, relevant and appropriate thing for us to say.



> A company is certainly not going to learn about the risks of running pirated software
here first.  I don't want to get into fine points of how the BSA operates.  Anyone can research
the rewards for whistle-blowers on settlement without lawsuits at <>.
 My main point is that an AOO stance is insignificant and not informative to someone for whom
license management is a serious concern.  Also, the BSA does not pursue individuals using
software separate from and outside of their employment.
> It is more important, to me, that there be clarity about what the AOO licensing conditions
are and how easy they are to satisfy at essentially no cost.  Comparative cost-benefit is
much larger than that single factor.  AOO site and resources could be more helpful in determining
how to migrate successfully, though.  That's something where we have an opportunity to act
as a contribution to the public interest.
> The business about copy-left versus permissive licenses is evidently what attracted the
attention of the legal-discuss list here at the ASF.  I had not known what the actual discussion
was at <>.
The conclusion later in that thread led to the footnote on the current version of the page
at <>.  (Another list I need to re-subscribe
to.)  A still unanswered question from the list is about whose voice this statement is made
in.  The footnote says it is not the voice of the ASF.
> It is a matter of firm policy that the ASF does not have anything to say about other
(open-source) licenses except with regard to how they are honored, where accepted, in ASF
Apache Projects.  The only ASF compliance concern is with the Apache License version 2.0 and
the ASF conditions on how the releases and distributions produced by Apache projects honor
all governing licenses.  That is more appropriately presented in material addressed to ASF
Project developers and potential contributors.  The only advice to adapters of software from
ASF Projects is that it is important to observe the licenses that apply.  And that interested
parties should look elsewhere for legal advice and assurances.
>  - Dennis
> PS: Other circumstances had me learn, recently, that the reason the Chair of the PMC
is an Officer of the Foundation is for important legal purposes with regard to the nature
of the Foundation and the umbrella it creates for projects under its auspices.  Some of the
legal considerations and their honoring are viewed as extending to the PMC as well and the
Chair is accountable to the Foundation for that.  The PMC, in addition to its attention on
the direction of the project is also governed by some legal requirements.  I know that's pretty
abstract, it is for me too.  I expect that Chairs get on-the-job training in such matters.
 I surmise that the charge to operate in the public interest and within the parameters the
Foundation has defined for fulfilling on that is paramount.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Pedro Giffuni []
> Sent: Friday, January 30, 2015 09:03
> To: OOo Apache
> Subject: Re: [DISCUSS] Inappropriate "Compliance Costs"
> [ ... ]
> I actually don't care about the discussion: I think both permissive
> and copyleft licenses have their advantages and disadvantages for
> certain groups. IANAL and I am in the group that doesn't read
> licenses anyways :).
> I honestly don't think having a "compliance costs" page will make
> a difference but if it saves some (few) people from learning such
> things through a legal process, I guess that can't do any harm.
> Regards,
> Pedro.
> [1]
> [2]
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