Link to home
Start Free TrialLog in
Avatar of DrTribos
DrTribosFlag for Australia

asked on

Open Source Licensing

Hi All

I'm not confident in my interpretation of Open Source Software Licenses... for example if I were to use large chunks of Open Office for my own project, add my own code and then redistribute commercially, what would my obligations be?

I'm reading from here: http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0.html 

As far as I can tell I must include the original license, annotate code where I have made modifications (I guess this would somehow include deletions, I only the word processor functionality - not the rest of the office suite)...

Am I able to keep my own IP as my own?  If I make a chunk of code that works with the open office word processor would it also have to be open source?

Personally I don't really have a problem with making my code open, but I don't think this approach will fly with my employer.

So, in a nutshell, would it be ok to trim down the word processor to the bare bones required for my project and add my own (locked / not open source code) to add my own functionality and then sell that software?

Do others do this?  Are there examples out there?

Cheers, S
ASKER CERTIFIED SOLUTION
Avatar of neilpage99
neilpage99
Flag of United States of America image

Link to home
membership
This solution is only available to members.
To access this solution, you must be a member of Experts Exchange.
Start Free Trial
Avatar of DrTribos

ASKER

Hi Neil - the page you linked to has another link to the Apache License v2.0, under which it states (amongst other things):

2. Grant of Copyright License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute the Work and such Derivative Works in Source or Object form.


Out of curiosity, what is the source for the quote you provided above?

Thanks,
Oh, don't worry - I found it: http://www.openoffice.org/FAQs/mostfaqs.html

But this seems to contradict the information here: http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0.html
The product, OpenOffice, since its debut in 2000, has changed hands, or "ownership" over the years. Now it looks as though Apache is the licenser. Apache has other products though - like their flagship Apache web server. So don't confuse their web server license:
http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0.html

With their OpenOffice license:
http://www.openoffice.org/license.html

Pay close attention - the quote I included says you cannot modify and distribute Oracle OpenOffice or StarOffice or any other commercial version of the OpenOffice.org source code without an assignment from the vendor. The version you're working with is NOT commercial, it's OpenSource, so you would follow the license here:
http://www.openoffice.org/license.html
Hmmm...

So here: http://www.openoffice.org/why/   it says:
Apache OpenOffice is released under the Apache 2.0 Licence.

I click on "Copyright & License" which takes me to the page you mention, where it says:

Licenses & Copyrights of www.openoffice.org at the Apache Software Foundation

Portions of OpenOffice.org are Copyright 1999, 2010 by contributing authors and Oracle and/or its affiliates.

Sections or single pages are covered by certain licenses. If a license notice is displayed, you may use the content of that page according to that license.

In all other cases, the page is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (ALv2).

I guess I need to consider *all* the licenses that I might encounter, but what caught my eye was:  In all other cases, the page is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (ALv2).    

The ALv2 is a hyperlink that takes me to: http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0.html 

... so I guess the clauses for ALv2 apply unless there is another license... I think this could get messy even for the experts?
I understand the confusion. Best to consult the distributor/licensor and make sure you're convered.