When the beta release of OpenOffice.org (OOo) 3.0 becomes available later this year, it will be licensed under the Lesser GPL (LGPL) 3.0, which Sun says is more flexible and protective against software patents. Currently, OOo is covered under LGPL 2.1.
The LGPL allows an individual source code library to be used in a proprietary product, without requiring the code around it to become subject to the provisions of the GPL, which requires that source code be made available for free to customers. OOo is included in several products with commercial licenses governing other parts of the code.
With the upgrade to LGPL 3.0, developers adopting code from an issuer will be protected from any patents held over that code.
"Upgrading to the LGPLv3 brings important new protections to the OpenOffice.org community, most notably through the new language concerning software patents," Sun's Chief Open Source Officer Simon Phipps clarified in his blog. "You may know that I am personally an opponent of software patents, and that Sun has already taken steps in this area with a patent non-assert covenant for ODF. But the most important protection for developers comes from creating mutual patent grants between developers. LGPLv3 does this."
OOo also will be moving to the latest version of the standard Sun Contributor Agreement (SCA) with an addendum, which accommodates developers of the core OOo codebase and of non-core extensions through different contribution models.
"There's increased latitude for documentation writers to publish their work on OpenOffice.org. And in future, plugins for OpenOffice.org may host their source code directly on the community site without copyright being shared, helping collaboration within the community," Phipps wrote.
Visit the OOo's Website for more on the new license and contributor agreement.
Read More ...