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From Simon Phipps <>
Subject Re: OO/LO License (Was: Apache Incubator Proposal: Collaboration with TDF/LO)
Date Sat, 04 Jun 2011 11:37:17 GMT

On 4 Jun 2011, at 12:09, Simos Xenitellis <> wrote:

> On Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 1:31 PM, Jochen Wiedmann
> <> wrote:
>> Excuse me for interrupting ...
>> On Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 12:01 AM,  <> wrote:
>>> LibreOffice uses a dual license LGPLv3/MPL.
>> I've been reading MPL a few times in this discussion. But neither
>> nor
>> are mentioning the MPL. What's right?
> I believe that during the talks between Robert and LibreOffice,
> LibreOffice asked to have the freed OpenOffice relicensed to LGPLv3/MPL,
> so that the wrongs are fixed and everyone is happy.
> But Robert got confused and says above that LibreOffice is already
> licensed under the LGPLv3/MPL.

I believe it's a bit more complex than that. The following is my understanding of the history
and situation, I'd welcome corrections where I have misunderstood or misremembered or my summary
omits key details.

IBM has been trying for years to get the OOo code put back under a permissive license. It
used to be under SISSL (a now-deprecated permissive open source license) and LGPLv2, and in
those days IBM was free to build Symphony without any reference to OOo. Its worth noting that
they never contributed any code at all to the community when OOo was under that permissive

Once OOo licensing was updated to LGPLv3 only, IBM could no longer operate in this way. There
were extensive negotiations, first on a semi-open community basis and then between Sun and
IBM. The result was apparently a private licensing arrangement. Under that arrangement, IBM
was again able to use the OOo code. Under this arrangement, they also contributed very little
code (although at least a bit).

In discussions with community members before the fork, IBMs representatives indicated that
if the code project was licensed under a weak copyleft license like MPL or CDDL, they would
be able and willing to both use it and work within the community.

In order to ensure IBM would be able to participate in LibreOffice in the event the rest of
the code was relicensed in a way they could accept, the community there has ensured that contributions
have been made under both MPL and LGPLv3. Since the inbound code LibreOffice uses is currently
mainly under LGPLv3, LibreOffice is licensed under LGPLv3 outbound at present even though
inbound new contributions are under both licenses.

This, by the way, is the source of some of the irritation from TDF, who went to a fair bit
of trouble to accommodate IBM but have been represented otherwise on Rob's blog and elsewhere.

Hope that helps,

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