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


[trimming to just discuss@, as my understanding is that is the proper
venue for this topic]

On Fri, Jun 3, 2011 at 21:47, Norbert Thiebaud <nthiebaud@gmail.com> 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.

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 ?

Apache helps out any community that wants to work under our umbrella.
The Foundation itself provides the legal umbrella, governance,
operations, infrastructure, and a bunch of other things. It is there
to help its community.

The Foundation has a proposal before it to help a to-be-defined
community to work on OO.o as an Apache project. That TBD-community is
not IBM and it is not Oracle. There are about 15 to 20 people[1]
stepping up to launch that community.

Lots of projects at the Foundation have duplicated other projects and
communities. And vice versa. The Apache HTTPD Server is the most
popular server on the planet, but lighttpd and nginx are also quite
popular. We aren't going to shut down HTTPD just because it duplicates
others. And other groups aren't going to stop building code just
because we already have some. Open Source is about scratching your own
itch. It isn't about saying "well, somebody else is choosing to do it
their way, so I better not attempt to try it my way."

We're helping that TBD community. If that helps corporations out
there, then fine. Lots of Apache projects have companies built around
them (Lucene, Hadoop, HTTPD, Tomcat, Subversion, etc ... all have
*very* strong corporate involvement). Apache is a charity. We produce
code for the benefit of *everybody*. Whether that is individuals,
educational institutions, or corporate enterprises. Our software is
for the public good. By using a permissive license, we can provide the
software to *everybody*, and we can do that on *equal* terms for
everybody. No winners. No losers.

Now all that said, I am NOT forgetting that Oracle's choice to
contribute OO.o (code and trademarks) to Apache *could* be a divisive
move. I'm not convinced that it *must* be divisive. I believe that
there are solutions that works for the benefit of the entire ecosystem
(OO.o, LO, and all the other derivatives). We don't have to let it
divide us.

(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)

You had a choice to sign the assignment or not. It sounds like you
chose not to, so it is no surprise to me that they elected to not
merge your work.

Even if you *had* signed the assignment, it sounds like Oracle had
pretty much given up and wouldn't have merged your work anyways :-P

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 ?)

Heh. I think that you're missing a lot of information in that
statement. Let me just hit a few highlights:

* IBM helped us to START the Foundation
* IBM contributed the original Axis, Xalan, Xerces, and Derby
codebases (probably more)
* IBM has contributed dozens and dozens of developers across Apache
projects over the past decade
* IBM pulled out of Harmony, but our code is *still* there and is
*still* in use by people. there are still developers there, but not
enough. the community has slowed down and is deciding what to do. IBM
didn't "screw us", as any developer could leave any project at any
time. that is the way it works
* Oracle really screwed us on the JCP
* Oracle is suing one of our Harmony users (Google and Android)

So if we're gonna be pissed at anybody... it probably isn't IBM.

But hey... we're above that. Remember our mission: provide software to
the public. We're a CHARITY. We are not supposed to hold grudges.
We're just supposed to move on, and build more code.

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.

I am sure that IBM will use our code for their own lucrative benefit.
Apache exists to enable that. But we also exist to ensure that
*anybody* can use our code to their own benefit.

Including you.

(that is _if_ I understand what Apache stand for... but maybe I'm misguided)

Norbert

PS: I strongly encourage you to read:
http://www.itworld.com/software/170521/big-winner-apache-openofficeorg#comment-9942111

Yup. I read it when it was first published. Very good article.

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 disagree that will be the outcome, but... we'll just have to wait and see.

Cheers,
-g

[1] http://wiki.apache.org/incubator/OpenOfficeProposal#Initial_Committers

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