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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <orc...@apache.org>
Subject RE: InfoWorld article on LibreOffice and OpenOffice
Date Fri, 07 Aug 2015 02:55:34 GMT
I think observations from others working on Apache OpenOffice would be interesting.  
 
I have been thinking about this question some more, myself, despite thinking it a red herring
with respect to issues around ASF policies on third party licenses.  
 
1.  People make many statements to justify the appeal of a product or of accepting such appeals.
 The city of Munich settling on ODF as a preferred format, and then choosing LibreOffice as
the software they would be installing strikes me as a case where something about the particular
open-source licensing is near-incidental and probably not determining, as handy as it might
be.
   
2.  If I was looking for a more compelling explanation, I would think that it would be of
greater import to officials in Munich that The Document Foundation is a German organization
and there is a significant core of German and European developers on the project.  It also
may appeal to the popular wisdom, in Europe, about FOSS and therefore [L]GPL.  It probably
mattered even more that TDF marketed LibreOffice to the City of Munich as well. I.e., this
is all speculative, but some of it is probably more of a likely story than nits about how
open-source projects manage third-party components.
    
3.  I have no idea what anyone had in mind as materially significant concerning “greater
flexibility … of consumption of open source licenses.” We’d need to know exactly how
that has materialized in fact, rather than in concept. 
   I think this posture is explained more concretely in some LibreOffice materials. In 2012,
LibreOffice was still released under [L]GPL although rebasing on the Apache OpenOffice ALv2
code base was underway, with subsequent licensing of their derivative to be under MPL2, as
explained on 2012-05-21 at https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/index.php?title=Development/Re-Basing
<https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/index.php?title=Development/Re-Basing&oldid=49866>
&oldid=49866.  The rationale at https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/index.php?title=Development/Re-Basing
<https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/index.php?title=Development/Re-Basing&oldid=49866#Why_go_with_the_MPLv2_.3F>
&oldid=49866#Why_go_with_the_MPLv2_.3F is interesting.  Here is the latest version of
that history, https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/index.php?title=Development/Re-Basing <https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/index.php?title=Development/Re-Basing&oldid=91453>
&oldid=91453.   It does suggest that the advantage of the MPL is the ability to combine
with strongly reciprocally-licensed works, so those dependencies are probably as toxic to
Apache OpenOffice as the MPL derivatives of AOO bits are.
   
4.  To see how this works out in deed, not just declaration, I have installed the latest version
of LibreOffice, 5.0.0.5 (x64), for Microsoft Windows.  The “About LibreOffice” Help menu
display says “Copyright © 2000-2015 LibreOffice contributors.  LibreOffice was based on
OpenOffice.org” and there is no further copyright notice or “based on” information there.
 The “Licensing and Legal information” Help menu display states “LibreOffice is made
available subject to the terms of the Mozilla Public License, v. 2.0.”  It also declares
“Copyright © 2000, 2015 LibreOffice contributors. All rights reserved. This product was
created by The Document Foundation, based on OpenOffice.org, which is Copyright 2000, 2011
Oracle and its affiliates.”  There is no other notice about copyrights there.  If the “Show
License” link to the Licensing and Legal Information document is followed, one sees a list
of dependencies on third-party licenses, including support copies of the GPL, LGPL, ALv2,
and some other licenses.  
   There is no mention of Apache OpenOffice in anything reachable from the UI.  There is,
however, a NOTICE file in the folder where LibreOffice 5 is installed.  It includes an Apache
OpenOffice notice and related notices about Oracle and IBM copyrights.
   I have no opinion to offer over the approach that has been taken with regard to license
and IP claims applicable to LibreOffice nor do I think it matters much to the ASF, despite
the odd justification lurking in <https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/index.php?title=Development/Re-Basing
<https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/index.php?title=Development/Re-Basing&oldid=91453#Will_this_mean_LibreOffice_is_.22powered_by_Apache.22_.3F>
&oldid=91453#Will_this_mean_LibreOffice_is_.22powered_by_Apache.22_.3F> that appears
to neglect the significant portion of OpenOffice.org that constituted works-for-hire of Sun
Microsystem and Oracle employees and is made available via the Oracle grant to the ASF.
   
5.  I think there is a bigger issue here.  Although there are strong competitive instincts
and grievances among some participants on Apache OpenOffice and counterparts on LibreOffice,
I believe the Apache Software Foundation will have none of that.  It is not how the ASF expresses
its approach to serving the public interest in anything I have seen.  
   Furthermore, unless the TDF was a willing contributor back to the Apache OpenOffice project,
required for acceptance under another aspect of ASF good citizenship, I think there is nothing
to say about whatever license and IP provenance there is in the LibreOffice code base.  
   There is certainly nothing to say about how LibreOffice is marketed and any puffery and
other statements that are made in favor of LibreOffice, including any discounting of OpenOffice
as an alternative.
 
-   Dennis
 
 
From: Dennis E. Hamilton [mailto:orcmid@apache.org] 
Sent: Wednesday, August 5, 2015 19:12
To: legal-discuss@apache.org
Subject: RE: InfoWorld article on LibreOffice and OpenOffice
 
I think the issue is moot.
 
The avowed flexibility does not seem to have done anything to mitigate complaints about usability
and compatibility, complaints that likely would apply equally to Apache OpenOffice in that
context.
 
It is not at all clear how the “greater flexibility of open-source licenses” is pertinent
to end-user requirements for use of an ODF-compliant software product in a civil administration
environment.  It might not be immaterial, but apparently it is very low on the ladder of what
matters the most.  I see no relationship between that and whatever interoperability issues
are of great concern in Munich.  
 
-   Dennis
 
 
From: Lawrence Rosen [mailto:lrosen@rosenlaw.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, August 5, 2015 14:24
To: legal-discuss@apache.org <mailto:legal-discuss@apache.org> 
Cc: Lawrence Rosen <lrosen@rosenlaw.com <mailto:lrosen@rosenlaw.com> >
Subject: RE: InfoWorld article on LibreOffice and OpenOffice
 
> How do you see this article as being related to third-party license policies?
 
Richard, I'm sorry for the ambiguity. See the highlighted sentence below. Someone more knowledgeable
about Apache OpenOffice should tell us if that sentence is significant in some way to Apache.
/Larry
 
> Interoperation is one of the main difficulties organizations have previously faced with
both OpenOffice and LibreOffice. During Munich's multiyear migration from proprietary software
(read: Microsoft), the city's administration decided to go with LibreOffice over OpenOffice
back in 2012. (One cited reason was "the greater flexibility of the project regarding consumption
of open source licenses.") But as of mid-2014, the city has been mulling a switch back to
Microsoft, in part due to user complaints about usability and compatibility.
>  
> http://www.infoworld.com/article/2877222/office-software/ <http://www.infoworld.com/article/2877222/office-software/libreoffice-44-cleans-up-both-its-ui-and-codebase.html>
libreoffice-44-cleans-up-both-its-ui-and-codebase.html 
 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Eckart de Castilho [mailto:rec@apache.org] 
Sent: Wednesday, August 5, 2015 1:11 PM
To: legal-discuss@apache.org <mailto:legal-discuss@apache.org> ; Lawrence Rosen <lrosen@rosenlaw.com
<mailto:lrosen@rosenlaw.com> >
Subject: Re: InfoWorld article on LibreOffice and OpenOffice
 
How do you see this article as being related to third-party license policies? (I can imagine
a couple of ways, but I prefer a few clear statements to hypothesizing).
 
-- Richard
 
On 05.08.2015, at 21:41, Lawrence Rosen < <mailto:lrosen@rosenlaw.com> lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
wrote:
 
> FYI.  I'm sorry to cite "competitive" open source publicity here, but Third Party License
policies matter.  /Larry
>  
> Interoperation is one of the main difficulties organizations have previously faced with
both OpenOffice and LibreOffice. During Munich's multiyear migration from proprietary software
(read: Microsoft), the city's administration decided to go with LibreOffice over OpenOffice
back in 2012. (One cited reason was "the greater flexibility of the project regarding consumption
of open source licenses.") But as of mid-2014, the city has been mulling a switch back to
Microsoft, in part due to user complaints about usability and compatibility.
>  
>  <http://www.infoworld.com/article/2877222/office-software/libreoffice-44-cleans-up-both-its-ui-and-codebase.html>
http://www.infoworld.com/article/2877222/office-software/libreoffice-44-cleans-up-both-its-ui-and-codebase.html
 
 
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