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----- Original Message ----

From: Charles-H. Schulz <>
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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