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Robert Burrell Donkin wrote on 2011-06-07 09.00:

(I'll try to avoid asking too many questions at once)

Feel free, I try to reply to all of them, if they haven't been replied in the meantime by someone else. Hard time following all mail threads. :-)

1. What would constrain this legal entity from closed sourcing these
assets or selling them?

Our statutes. We have binding statutes that are for fostering free office software, and we are acknowledged of being charitable. So, "simply" changing or closing down things would be nearly impossible.

In addition, such topics could be covered by a contract. I can imagine, without speaking officially for the German association here, that there would have been no problem in signing a contract that sets certain limitations on what could be done with the assets. Like "You have to keep the assets, do not sell them, and do not make closed source out of things. If you cannot manage them at some point in the future, you have to hand them over to another entity taking care of that.".

The question is similar to "What would be if Apache Foundation stopped to exist tomorrow?". For all these things, precautions can be taken. :)

2. What would transfer of assets achieve for the TDF that a license would not?

I guess it depends on the type of the exact license. An asset transfer is "more" than a license, and gives more safety and stability, but depending on what is in the license, the latter one could have been enough.

But, we need to see two things:

If you read the letter of intent, we did not ask for a copyright assignment (i.e. asset transfer) on the *code*, but rather for a relicensing of the code. We did indeed ask for a *trademark* transfer (i.e. asset transfer), but I guess a good license could have worked as well. It's hard to predict that without knowing details, of course, but discussing always helps... :)


Florian Effenberger <>
Steering Committee and Founding Member of The Document Foundation
Tel: +49 8341 99660880 | Mobile: +49 151 14424108
Skype: floeff | Twitter/ @floeff

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