----- Original Message ----
From: Charles-H. Schulz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
4) the notion that we cannot change license because we don't have
copyright assignment needs to be put to rest once and for all today.
There is a very simple explanation with respect to this issue; ask any
lawyer and he/she will confirm this: Sun/Oracle has licensed the OOo
code under LGPL v3. They could have put "LGPL v3 or later" or "LGPL v3
or +". But they didn't. And that's what makes impossible to turn OOo
into a different license unless the sole copyright owner agrees to
change it, which is unlikely with Oracle.
While I like that TDF is not requiring copyright assignment, there is one point
missing here that is in its favor.
True, Sun/Oracle has currently licensed OOo under LGPLv3.
But what's to stop them from going to LGPLv4 when it is available?
Absolutely nothing. At which point TDF may not be able to accept changes from
OOo any longer assuming it is still possible at that time
without updating the LO license to be the same or inclusive therein.
Perhaps the way around that is to require those contributing TDF to use the "or
later" language; though some may not want to.
Even without copyright assignment the only thing standing in the way of changing
the license - whether to LGPLv4 or even GPLv3 or whatever else -
is getting the permission of _all_ the copyright holders.
From what I understand this is already impossible to do under Linux due to
deaths of at least one contributor.
The main reason projects move towards having copyright assignment is to be able
to keep the licensing language up to date - to use the latest GPL/LGPL license
due to exactly the issue of how hard it is to track down every contributor and
get their permission in should they want to change the license. At present the
bulk of the code is held by Oracle and such can be most easily changed by
garnishing permission from one entity; though that will not be true for long for
TDF without copyright assignment - in which case there would be two - TDF and
The Linux Kernel guys don't require it; KDE E.v. does. Both methods have their
pros and cons.
Ultimately, as long as TDF and the community are aware and accept what may occur
should Oracle radically change the license it doesn't really matter.
Just pointing out it's a little more complex than Oracle is not likely to change
the license since they very well could. Fortunately they cannot do it
retroactively, at least with the LGPL.
P.S. IANAL and such disclaimers. This is just from what I have learned from
years of watching the community and the licensing topics.
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