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Moving to a weaker licence

Moving to a weaker licence

Posted Jan 29, 2013 2:21 UTC (Tue) by coriordan (guest, #7544)
Parent article: Schulz: The meaning of the 4.0

LibreOffice is switching to MPL2?

Below is the explanation from their wiki page. I don't know enough to judge if this is a good idea. Anyone else?

An unfortunate tactical reality of the Microsoft / Windows ecosystem is that 'Office' is often percived to be an omnipresent, free component of that environment. As such, ISVs build proprietary applications around those tools, which become tangled into business' processes, and appear to pay no price. At the present time we judge it is hard to replace these with a strong copy-left. Some trivial examples might be the integration of proprietary E-mail systems into our mail-merge, or perhaps linking to various databases.

(They mention a choice of licences, but distributors can only be required to obey the weakest of the licences, so this is basically relicensing the codebase to MPL2.)


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Moving to a weaker licence

Posted Jan 29, 2013 3:24 UTC (Tue) by mlinksva (subscriber, #38268) [Link]

They're right about entanglement of many organizations with MS Office-based applications. Their judgement regarding strong copyleft being a barrier to replacing that tangle, I have no idea, would be curious to read more about it.

LO has been requiring contributions under MPL&LGPLv3+ from the beginning (or nearly so) of the project, and re-basing has been underway for a long time. The "switch" to MPL2 is long-planned and unsurprising. But ignoring all that, it would've been curious had LO instead gone GPLv3+, making for a tiny bit more of a natural licensing experiment relative to AOO (tiny bit as non-license differences probably dominate), and AOO would've been available for proprietary vendors and integrators in any case.

Yeh, maybe it's justified

Posted Jan 29, 2013 4:13 UTC (Tue) by coriordan (guest, #7544) [Link]

Yeh, maybe it's justified. AOO started a race to the bottom, so LO's position is weakened by third-parties being able to get most of the LO functionality from AOO under AL2.

The LO folk do have a focus on freedom, so "beating" AOO is a worthwhile goal. Hard one to call.

I've put a note on the libreplanet wiki:
http://libreplanet.org/wiki/Good_and_bad_licence_changes#...

In time, that might attract insight from others.

Yeh, maybe it's justified

Posted Jan 29, 2013 6:08 UTC (Tue) by mlinksva (subscriber, #38268) [Link]

"Beating" AOO is trivia, relative to beating proprietary vendors; hopefully latter is driving decisions. In any case, I'm not sure AOO really started race to bottom -- LO required MPL contributions before AOO came to light. AOO under a permissive license may have just allowed LO to do what would've taken them forever to do otherwise. Which is a little different than reacting from a weakened position. Caveat: this is from memory, I could have sequence and causality completely wrong.

That's a good page on the libreplanet wiki; made a couple edits.

Yeh, maybe it's justified

Posted Jan 29, 2013 10:23 UTC (Tue) by thumperward (guest, #34368) [Link]

The "race to the bottom" was started long ago when Sun allowed third parties to license the OOo code under non-copyleft terms. The intention of licensing any new LibreOffice code under the MPL was to allow organisations who had taken that route to transition to using LibreOffice as the base for their products instead of whatever ancient revision of OOo they'd licensed from Sun (and thus bringing them back into the ecosystem). This had nothing to do with Apache.

Indeed, it is precisely because LibreOffice made such a huge concession to the likes of IBM in relicensing much more permissively that there was so such disdain for Oracle's contriving to donate the openoffice.org trademark and domain names to Apache, where they would be jealously withheld from the living codebase.


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