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Re: [steering-discuss] Re: [Libreoffice] Hello! ... and lurking :-)


On 06/03/2011 09:47 PM, Norbert Thiebaud wrote:
On Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 7:15 PM, Greg Stein<gstein@gmail.com>  wrote:
Hi all,

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, then please feel
free to direct them my way (on whatever list). I'm here to listen and
understand, and to offer up answers where I can.

Let me start with a request. If we are going to have a productive discussion, it would be best if it were done using respectful terms. If, however, as described below it is the intent of TDF to systematically exclude one or more participants then I think the answer as to why there might need to be a separate effort answers itself.

I have a question:
Why would Apache contemplate helping IBM pull a Jenkins/Hudson on us,
fragmenting the license of a project that has been with a uniform
licensing so far ?
(Oracle could merge our changes... they elected _not_ to do so because they
wanted a Copyright assignment on top of the code, but that was not
a licensing incompatibility)

OpenOffice.org is not uniformly licensed. Never has been. You yourself point to a comment on an IT World article that makes this very point.

If is licensed to many under one license, and LibreOffice has continued with that license. It is licensed to others under a different license. The copyright assignment was an essential part in making that dual licensing strategy happen.

Whatever the history, if we truly seek to build one community, we will need to work together to find a license that enables the most widespread possible use of the code. While I am generally an advocate for the Apache License, Version 2.0, I do believe that this license is particularly appropriate in this situation given both the history and the list of people interested in participating going forward.

You (Apache) are lending your good name to a nasty endeavor, for the
benefit of a company
that has an history of screwing you over (Harmony ?)

Ironically what seems to be happening at Apache is very reminiscent to
me to the ISO/MSXML debacle...
Some corporation exploiting the letter of your governance to better
abuse the spirit of it.
(that is _if_ I understand what Apache stand for... but maybe I'm misguided)

In the interest of full disclosure, I am an IBM employee. Next month it will be 30 years.

I've also been an active participant in the Apache Software Foundation for over 10 years. I've been on the Board of Directors for the foundation for most of that time, and I am the VP of Legal Affairs. These positions are selected based solely on merit, and in the case of the board of directors are a result of an open election amongst the membership. It is not possible to buy a seat on the board in the ASF, the only way to get considered is by individual and sustained involvement.

IBM is a big company. I do not work in the part of the company that previously was involved in Harmony. I do not work in the part of the company that is interested in contributing to whatever project may be formed based the generous OpenOffice.org contribution. Others in my group participate in various ways in Apache. Others in many other groups within IBM participate in a number of Apache Projects. Some have even participated in Apache longer than I have.

What I will say is that one of the primary goals of Incubation at the ASF is to establish that there is a diverse community maintaining the code base, one diverse enough to survive the exiting of any particular contributor.

Without attempting to defend or excuse IBM's actions with respect to Harmony, I will state that in my opinion the primary obstacle that project has had in obtaining and retaining contributors is the failure to obtain access to the compatibility test kit which is essential part of obtaining certification.

Norbert

PS: I strongly encourage you to read:
http://www.itworld.com/software/170521/big-winner-apache-openofficeorg#comment-9942111
That shed a very illuminating light on IBM's involvement in OOo, and
why it is hard to take seriously their grandiose promises... that
would by far not been the first time, and there is no reason to
believe that the outcome will be any different this time around...
except that both the OpenOffice brand and the Apache reputation will
be tarnished in the process...

I believe that the key phrase in that comment is "objections to contributing code to be used in proprietary apps". A fundamental goal of the Apache license is to satisfy the needs of those that wish to include the code in Free and proprietary software alike.

I believe that if we want to attract everyone alike to contributing to a common code base -- wherever it resides -- then we need to establish this as a common goal.

If we do this, clearly there is much work that would need to be done. It will involve getting the consent of those that participate in this foundation and LibreOffice to relicense their work. It won't be easy, but I will be a part of making it happen.

- Sam Ruby

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