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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: Working on a project roadmap ...
Date Wed, 26 Oct 2011 11:57:40 GMT
On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 7:25 AM, Michael Meeks <> wrote:
> Rob,
>        TLDR summary: we all have flexibility, and yielding to IBM's
>        choice of the ASF is to let a corporate minority choose The
>        Apache Way for a majority that wants to be their own
>        self governing meritocracy.
>        But of course there is much more nuance:
> On Tue, 2011-10-25 at 07:41 -0400, Rob Weir wrote:
>> > Given licenses are the expression of the ethos of a community, it's
>> LO had no choice but to take LGPL.  So more necessity/inertia than
>> ethos.  And -- according to Michael -- when it thought that MPL might
>> be more acceptable TDF was quick to add MPL for new code
>> contributions.  This shows an ethos of flexibility.
>        Sure TDF is flexible, and in many ways far more flexible as a small
> separate project than AOOoI can be as a small part of a much larger,
> much more established project. I see that as a great strength, others no
> doubt see it as instability and weakness :-)
>>   This is a good thing.
>        Completely agreed. Indeed - in my view it is entirely right for the
> contributor meritocracy as a whole to make project decisions, such as
> licensing, in a collective fashion.

So you don't see any possibility for individual choice among TDF
contributors to make their code available under an additional
compatible license beyond than those minimum required by TDF?   This
is decided in a collectivist style, with no option for personal choice
or conscience?  Really?

>        As such, if the TDF board, ESC etc. can be persuaded that using an
> Apache license is the best way to go forward, and that the benefits to
> everyone (perhaps new contributors) outweigh the (extremely substantial)
> negative impact of loosing contributors that feel strongly against this,
> the cost of having to re-write their contributions, deal with the
> repercussions etc.: then that is indeed a decision we can make. The fact
> that IBM is represented only by proxy in that decision is due to their
> regrettable lack of engagement with our process, and relatively small
> contribution to date (and not for want of us reaching out to try to
> include you guys).

Would you be willing to put this to a vote of the TDF membership:
Shall LO contributors be permitted, based on their individual,
personal choice, to make their contributions to TDF/LO be available
under the Apache 2.0 license, in addition to the required LGPL/MPL

Or does your collective decision making preclude actually polling your

>        However you touch quite well on the real root issue here.
>        ASF is a very well known entity it has a substantial raft of
> set-in-stone policies covering many (but clearly not all) aspects of
> community, licensing, governance, fund-raising, trademarks, branding,
> and more. It even has a popular brand around that raft of choices: The
> Apache Way that should be protected. That is great. The ASF is a good
> and worthy institution that reflects it's memberships wishes and
> produces good software. They are also seriously inflexible on these
> topics, since they believe them to be the best, as is reasonable and
> their right. The Apache Way no doubt works excellently for many projects
> that voluntarily submit to it.

I'm talking individual choice.  There is nothing today that prevents
an Apache contributor from taking their contributions and making them
to LO as well, under LPGL.  Nothing.   I'm just trying to see if
TDF/LO has similar flexibility.  Bringing up the fact that Apache is
an well-established 11 year old foundation is nice, but evades the
main question

>        However, from my perspective, allowing a minority contributor: IBM to
> choose ASF, and thus try to dictate this slew of set-in-stone
> pre-decisions to the wider community is highly antisocial. That
> effectively robs us by dilution and inertia of any real choice in most
> of these matters forever. This to me is the primary annoyance here, not
> licensing per-se which is only a symptom.

This is not IBM.  This is about whether TDF allows its contributors to
collaborate with Apache on code, or whether this is active

>        To point out that TDF is flexible and therefore must be the one that
> change, whereas ASF's inflexibility (carefully chosen for this attribute
> by a minority contributor) means they cannot change - is to get rather
> close to the nub of the problem. It also looks a little disingenuous.
> AOOoI participants clearly have a similar flexiblity: the freedom to
> join TDF, and let incubation amicably lapse.

Indeed Apache contributors are free to send their patches to LO, under
any license they chose.  We don't discourage this.

>        It is of course a minority's right, and apparently ASF's choice to
> support such actions - but they are emphatically anti-meritocratic when
> you look at the bigger picture. To have (well meaning) people (who have
> contributed even less than Rob) imposing one company's choice of
> set-in-stone pre-decisions on the project, day after day would be fairly
> horrendous.

"imposing choice"?  Really?  One can impose a decision, surely.  But
no one is talking about that.  We're talking about making a choice
available.  The choice can be ignored.  But permitting an additional
choice is never an imposition.

>        Thus - while it is reasonable enough to fork, have your own project,
> build your own competing community, do your own thing etc. to -then- try
> to damage and divide the LibreOffice community along licensing lines is
> viewed as an extreme and un-necessarily hostile move; and one that we
> must react to.

So giving choice is a threat to the LO community?  I know that offeing
choice was a threat to the Soviet Union.  But you see offering LO
contributors the individual and personal choice of collaborating with
AOOo via the ALv2 license is a "hostile" act?  Really?

>        I think my take is that meritocracy and fair governance is more
> important than any particular choice of licensing, and I'm saddened that
> ASF's action -seems- to suggest that it is fine to help to divide an
> existing community along these lines, siding with a corporate minority
> vs. the wider majority. Actually, to be fairer to ASF I think they were
> to some degree duped into this by being given a rather unbalanced view
> of how the existing contributor base broke down that made this look much
> more nuanced than it really is, and of course releasing OO.o under AL2
> is a prize of some order.
>>   One option TDF/LO did not have at the time was to take the
>> core OOo code under ALv2
>        We certainly always -had- the option to ask people to dual license
> their contributions under ALv2/LGPLv3+, what made you think we didn't ?
> this was a conscious choice.

The new code in LO is the fuzz on the peach.  You never had the option
to take the core code under ALv2.

>> It might make sense to evaluate the new possibilities, including
>> possibilities for collaboration, enabled by this change, a change
>> that was not even remotely foreseeable, and therefore was not
>> considered, when TDF/LO first started.
>        Au contraire - many outcomes were considered, and still are. The choice
> of license was designed to appeal to as many contributors as possible,
> and take account of the long history of the project and our experience
> of corporate interactions with it, along with how best to encourage good
> behaviour and express what we expect of contributors. Possibly that
> calculus will change over time - lets see.

Certainly there are more possibilities now than before.

>        To converse your request, it might make sense now - that the balance of
> the community is clearer, to evaluate joining TDF and becoming the
> valued contributor in good standing that we'd love to have IBM be. ASF
> could help by making it clear that this is a no-hard-feelings type
> outcome. As a half-way step you could contribute to both projects
> concurrently perhaps. You have that flexibility. I suspect that such
> suggestions will bring a similar but converse allergic reaction to the
> one I have :-)

I'm certainly looking for ways to contribute to both projects.  But
that would require that the contributions made could be enhanced and
shared between the projects, including future patches.  That would
require an allowance in TDF/LO for ALv2.

>> > disingenuous and divisive to assume any community will drop its governance
>> > approach like this, Pedro. It translates as "the path to collaboration is
>> > your surrender; we can negotiate once you've done that".  You make it sound
> ..
>> "If libreoffice encourages, but not requires, AL2 for stuff in the
>> core package, that would be a huge  advance to get a bit nearer both
>> camps."
>        Sure, but this approach is highly likely to detract from the ultimate
> goal - which has to be a single, meritocratic community, with consensus
> licensing, governance etc. decided by -that- community. Submitting
> changes to both camps, and getting nearer, will put pressure on those
> who do not choose to bow the knee, damage collaboration, and will create
> more merging pain. Furthermore supporting the division that AOOoI has
> created here is tantamount to backing the idea that one small player
> should be able to dictate terms to everyone else. I for one have had a
> stomach full of big companies dictating things to the
> project in the past.

I'd recommend putting paternalism aside, and allow the individual
developers to decide whether increased collaboration is worth the
"merging pain",  They are the ones doing the work, after all.  And
although you use terms like "dictate", "pressure", "now the knee" and
other inflammatory terms, these are all hyperbole, since no one is
talking about requiring AlV2.  We're just talking about a structured
way in which individual TDF/LO contributors could voluntarily indicate
their choice of ALv2.

>> This is not asking for LO members to surrender or fall on their
>> swords.  It is suggesting that information be made available to LO
>> developers who might wish to voluntarily make their code available
>        My personal take is - that people contributing their code under AL2 are
> complicit in this fragmentation and are helping (broadly) a single
> player behave in highly sub-optimal way. I'd strongly discourage such
> action as only helping to prolong the agony here.

Ah, so collaboration with Apache is now akin to collaboration with
Vichy France.  "After the war, we hanged the collaborators...."

>> under ALv2 as well as the existing LGPL/MPL.   Please correct me if
>> I'm wrong, but I had the impression that nothing at TDF/LO that would
>> prevent someone from doing this?
>        Nothing legal; only social, ie. not undermining the very basis of
> community and meritocratic governance that I prize in TDF ;-)

Well, you've certainly been very clear and unambiguous on your views
here.  I thank you for this.  It will be very useful.



>        Regards,
>                Michael.
> --
>  <><, Pseudo Engineer, itinerant idiot

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