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Re: Questions about the Classpath license exception

From: acoliver
Subject: Re: Questions about the Classpath license exception
Date: Sat, 14 May 2005 17:16:29 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 (Macintosh/20041206)

I agree with what you mean but don't like your wording. I may personally love to help fix the occassional nit in classpath if its in the way of harmony and will very cooperatively contribute it to classpath. If I don't feel qualified to do it or thing others may be better suited I'll kindly send them useful information about the problem I'm experiencing and if possible help solve it. however that is best done directly in the context of the classpath project itself, maintaining its integrity! :-)


Davanum Srinivas wrote:
We can use the con call next week as the forum.

Just to summarize *Ideally* what we would like, here's a list:
- We don't want to modify any classpath code. If we need changes, we
can work with classpath folks.
- We don't want to add classpath sources to our tree. this will avoid
local changes.
- We want to add classpath jar snapshots to our CVS/SVN (preferable).
- We want to add classpath jar to our installer to distribute a
working JVM/JRE in a single download.
- We want to enable a commercial product to be able to sublicense the
complete JVM/JRE.


On 5/14/05, Leo Simons <address@hidden> wrote:

Hi classpath developers!

(Harmony people: replies only on the classpath mailing list please, this has
in reality only little to do with harmony.)

"Oh no, not all that licensing crap again!"

As part of the ongoing investigation whether the new Apache Harmony project
can legally use GNU Classpath and what the licensing implications of that
should be, one of Apache's resident license experts inlined some comments
into the classpath exception wording:

  Linking this library (scope?) statically or dynamically with
  other modules (define?) is making a combined work based on this
  library. Thus, the terms and conditions of the GNU General
  Public License cover the whole combination. (I.e., this work
  and anything you combine with it cannot be copied, redistributed,
  or made into derivative works except under the terms of the GPL).

  As a special exception (on what?), the copyright holders (who?)
  of this library (encompassing what?) give you permission to
  link (how?) this (what?) library with independent modules (defined
  later) to produce an executable (what's that?), regardless of
  the license terms of these independent modules (license as
  received or license for redistribution?), and to copy and
  distribute (a small fraction of the rights under copyright law,
  not to mention patents) the resulting executable (but what about
  the source libraries?) under terms of your choice, provided that
  you also meet, for each linked independent module, the terms and
  conditions of the license of that module. An independent module
  is a module which is not derived from or based on (define?) this
  library. If you modify this library, you may extend this exception
  to your version of the library, but you are not obligated to do so.
  If you do not wish to do so, delete this exception statement from
  your version (which is the same as dual-licensing with GPL).

That's a lot of comments and question marks! The gist of this is that the
combination of GPL + this exception has many legal holes at a glance. From
what I understand (not a lot, IANAL), that is because various things in the
statement are not fully defined.

The first thing we would like to do is get rid of all those question marks.
It's probably not productive to go through all of them. One suggestion I'd
like to pass on is that you guys write up a list of the goals to be achieved
with the GPL+exception construct (ideally in the form of a web page, since
links are easy to pass around :-)) and some of the ASF people take a look at
that and take a stab at a proposal for a different kind of wording which
would be deemed to be compatible with those goals, Apache's goals with
Harmony, and the Apache License, if that's possible. We can then make the
three texts (the classpath exception, the goals to be achieved with the
exception, an alternative proposal) subject of a discussion, perhaps via

Sound like a plan? Mark, I think you've got my cell if you want a
high-bandwidth chat :-)



Andrew C. Oliver
SuperLink Software, Inc.

Java to Excel using POI
Commercial support including features added/implemented, bugs fixed.

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