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License Simplification FAQ

These faq have been compiled over the span of OpenOffice's lifetime. Most of the information is now out of date. See the OpenOffice FAQ page on our official wiki for up-to-date information. If you find instances that need updating, let us know by sending a note to dev@openoffice.apache.org.

Summary

On 2 September 2005 Sun announced the retirement of the Sun Industry Standard Source License (SISSL). As a consequence, no future Sun open-source project will use the SISSL. Projects currently using the SISSL under a dual-license scheme, such as OpenOffice.org, are dropping the SISSL and thus simplifying their license scheme as soon as the development cycle allows.

The announcement can be found here.

The below aim to answer the most obvious questions. If you have others, contact:

General Questions

Why has Sun decided to make the change?
Sun wants to help with the reduction of open source licenses in use as suggested by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) License Proliferation Committee.

What does this mean for OpenOffice.org?
All OpenOffice.org source code and binaries (executable files) up to and including OpenOffice.org 2 Beta 2 are licensed under both the LGPL and SISSL. Effective 2 September 2005, all code in the 2.0 codeline will be licensed exclusively under the LGPL. All future versions of OpenOffice.org, beyond OpenOffice.org 2 Beta 2, will thus be released under the LGPL only. The change in licensing implicitly affects all languages and platforms in which OpenOffice.org is distributed.

I obtained my OpenOffice.org from a distributor. How will this license change affect me?
It probably won't affect you. Check with your distributor if you have questions.

How am I affected by the license simplification?
Users of the OpenOffice.org application should not be affected by this license change, e.g., the software will continue to be available at no cost. Most individuals and corporate developers making changes to the OpenOffice.org code are already working within the constraints of the LGPL license and contribute back to the Project. Developers or vendors of OpenOffice.org should make themselves familiar with the terms of the LGPL license by reading the license text and the FAQs:

http://www.opensource.org/licenses/lgpl-license.php
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html

 

Vendors & Distributors

Can I sell OpenOffice.org binaries or source for money?
Yes. The LGPL permits that, though it requires that the source be kept public.

I sell CDROMs with OpenOffice.org. What happens now?
Nothing new. You may sell CDs of OpenOffice.org as an aggregate or not; include add-ons and other extensions or not. The LGPL allows commercial distribution.

How will this license affect programs that work with OpenOffice.org?
The LGPL requires that modifications to the source be published but does not otherwise affect programs linked to the source. Your program will thus not be included in the provisions of the LGPL covering OpenOffice.org, unless you want it to be.

I still have questions about OpenOffice.org's licenses. Where do I find answers?
See our license FAQ.

 


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