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From Peter Donald <>
Subject Re: licensing (was: Ant gui tool)
Date Mon, 23 Oct 2000 01:19:38 GMT
>> X is in a similar situation to Apache - they want it to be free (as in beer
>> and as in freedom) but not copyleft. It was for a long time incompatable
>> with GPL but GNU did not encourage hackers to compete with it but allowed
>> them to cooperate. Eventually to get around the licensing problem (which
>> many "GPL" programs violated) they started considering it a system
>> component. 
>The reason the GNU project didn't play nice with the X consortium was
>not because the X license was not GPL compatible but because they were
>afraid that the X consortium would make future versions of the software
>non-free since the X license allows this to happen. So they urged people
>to GPL their X software to prevent this from happening but the X consortium
>did not accept GPLed contributions.

right but the terms of the license were incompatable with GPL I thought.
People who GPLed code that used the X core were not doing it legally as
such. I could be wrong as I was never involved as such. I thought that it
was perfectly legal to write proggies that used X just like it is perfectly
legal to write programs that used libc ... but combining it with core was a
no no. 

>> Around december I am going to start lobbying the PMC to change the few
>> clauses left that cause problems. However even if we can do this 90% (or
>> all ???) of the projects use proprietry code - whether that be javamail,
>> jndi providers, activation, etc which prevents licensing under GPL.
>> Hopefully the projects like xerces/xalan that are "pure" APL will be able
>> to be used by GPL projects thou.
>Please let me know how I can help you with that. I believe there are people
>working on a free javamail implementation

theres a guy at sourceforge who has done this. Not sure on license thou.

>, but jndi and 
>activation are big projects. 

the same guy did activation and if not I have a 50% clone of activation
sitting about.

>The greatest barrier will be a free Swing implementation.

However I long ago learned the pointlessness of such endeavors. Sun and the
new JCP are churning out too much good quality code for free software to
keep up. Worse is that the people who would've at one stage worked on free
implementations are now working with JCP. So you either accept sub-standrd
environment or just use suns libraries. Most of suns libraries are under a
free (as in beer) license so it is too much to ask to go against that. Even
worse is that sun holds patents that restrict free implementation of
various libraries (ie jini and some rmi aspects) and thus you can only use
them if you use suns version.

>But I am sure we will see it in the end. I try to do some work on the
>Classpath (now merged with libgcj) project and I am very impressed with
>how complete their 1.2 library support is (often more complete then the
>kaffe libraries).

yep. I worked with classpath stuff for a bit when I decided to write my own
VM and found it fairly good except that it has mixed libraries (ie
partially 1.0, partially 1.1, partially 1.2 etc) 

>But I also believe that people should be free to choose the license they
>want. And sometimes you have to work with GPLed code and have to respect
>the wishes of the original authors and not use GPL incompatible code.

right but it is also quite insulting in some cases. Consider this case. I
use apache stuff and develope it further then I choose GPL to license it
under so as to block apache developers using it. This has happened in past
even by these "GPL" projects that were not really "GPL" and will most
likely happen more in future. I find this offensive in the extreme.

>I hope you succeed (see above). But couldn't you just recommend those
>projects to use the APL minus the last two clauses (call it the
>unrestricted APL :). That would make those projects both GPL and APL

nope. At least I don't think so. At apache everything is decided by
consensus. So even if I could do it I wouldn't want to. It is more a
"together we stand or together we fall" kind of atitude.



| "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want |
| to test a man's character, give him power."          |
|       -Abraham Lincoln                               |

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