OpenOffice 3.2.1 Released

June 4, 2010

The project has released version 3.2.1 of its OpenOffice productivity suite.  This is primarily a bug-fix release that addresses five potential security vulnerabilities, and adds some speed and stability improvements; there are no significant new features.  (Further information is in the Release Notes.)   Versions for all platforms (Windows, Linux 32- and 64-bit, Mac OS X PPC and x86, and Solaris SPARC and x86) are available, in numerous languages, from the download page.

WebM License Modified

June 4, 2010

I’ve mentioned here before Google’s open-source WebM video project, which aims to produce an open video standard for the Web, free of licensing and patent constraints that apply to other standards, such as H.264.

According to an announcement on the WebM project blog, the original license proposed for the WebM project has been modified to clear up a couple of legal issues.   These changes, although they are technical and seemingly nit picking, illustrate the minefield that the current legal situation with respect to copyrights and patents can create for the unwary.

The key change is in the section of the license dealing with patent licensing.  In a clause that is fairly standard in this type of license (free or otherwise), it is stated that patent licenses granted by Google terminate if Google is sued for patent infringement.  (The intent is that the grantor is not giving an unlimited indemnity to the licensee.)  Unfortunately, some slightly careless wording in the original version of the license meant that the whole license, including the license to use and modify copyrighted material, would be terminated under those conditions.  This has now been fixed.

A secondary positive effect of the change is that the WebM license is now compatible with existing open-source licenses, such as the Apache License and the FSF’s General Public License.  This is a good thing; the proliferation of license types just adds to confusion, and creates an opportunity for FUD generation.

The license FAQ has also been updated to reflect the changes.

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