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Licensing Strategy


OpenOffice.org uses a dual-license strategy for the source code of the projects technology. The two licenses are:

The dual-license mechanism enables the fullest degree of open and free access to the technology for both the GPL community as well as other developer communities that all wish to develop and deliver compatible, high-quality products for a networked world — powered with open office productivity services technology.


The Dual License Strategy

The key objectives for licensing the OpenOffice.org project source code are to enable it to:


1. Be compatible and accessible to projects using the GNU GPL. The diversity, innovation, and momentum of projects within the GPL community mandate that the OpenOffice.org technology use the GPL licensing.

2. Provide a licensing structure for other open communities that are incompatible with GNU GPL licensing. Again, the extensiveness of such projects and their diversity of application require OpenOffice.org to be accessible to these communities.


3. Be available for licensing to commercial companies wanting to utilize the technology within their products and/or provide branded versions of the technology as products to their customers. Many of these companies require more traditional commercial license terms and ancillary support services from another commercial vendor.


4. Support compliance with standards for the OpenOffice.org APIs and XML-based file formats. Keeping a cohesive adherence to these standards is recognized as key for the viability of such office productivity in a universal manner. Here, the use of a reference standard, open publishing of the reference specifications and any changes to such references, compliance testing mechanisms, and marks of compliance are the desirable tools required to achieve this goal for products and services.


Through dual licensing of OpenOffice.org technology, the first three points can be satisfied by choosing the companion license to the GPL. The second license must be able to specify requirements of compliance, while providing freedom of innovation by requiring that incompatible changes to the standard be openly published as source code. The second license also needs to provide adequate flexibility for enabling OpenOffice.org technology to be used within commercial products without compromise of the commercial vendors’ other licenses used in such products. The Sun Industry Standard Source License (SISSL) satisfies these requirements. The SISSL specification of a Standard (Exhibit B) to which compliance is required provides the clause to which licensees must retain compliance for their use of technology in distributed products. If a licensee makes incompatible modifications, the license specifies that a reference implementation of the modifications must be published back to Sun Microsystems under the original SISSL terms and conditions.


Specifics of the OpenOffice.org License Strategy


Dual Licensing and Standards Compatibility
All source code of the OpenOffice.org project is dual licensed using the GNU GPL licenses1 and the OpenOffice.org SISSL. Exhibit B of the OpenOffice.org SISSL will specify that the GNU GPL or LGPL source code, with the same version number, is the reference standard for that specific SISSL-licensed source code version.

This circular mechanism ensures that SISSL licensees are required to maintain compatibility with the GPL community versions of the same source code APIs and file formats. Sun Microsystems will publish any supplied modification reference implementations under the dual license (GPL/LGPL + SISSL) so that all communities have access to such modifications.

The SISSL License will be issued by Sun Microsystems, Inc., to SISSL licensees via a click-thru license hosted at the OpenOffice.org source code repository. This license is granted to the licensee for no fee or royalty charge.


Specification of Standard Versions
The specification for each Standard Version as used by the licensing mechanism will be specified and published by the OpenOffice.org project under the governance of the OpenOffice.org Steering Committee.


StarOffice Brand Usage


In conjunction with the dual-license scheme, Sun Microsystems will provide a compatibility testing service to OpenOffice.org licensees for a fee. This service will be charged on a per-platform, per-version basis. Upon achieving compatibility certification for the specific product, the licensee will be authorized to use the StarOffice brand on the version of their product for that specifically tested platform version.


The provisions for use of the well-known StarOffice mark on a license's compatible products benefits them by delivering the market recognition already established by the mark and leveraging expanding market recognition of the mark developed by Sun Microsystems and other StarOffice mark vendors.

Additionally, the StarOffice mark conveys a signature of compatibility and confidence to users. This delivers a significant value to the vendor, their product, and the user.


1. Note: All libraries and embeddable components of the OpenOffice.org dual license will use the Lesser GPL (LGPL).

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