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From Ovidiu Predescu <>
Subject Re: AW: [C2.1] new SOAP logicsheet
Date Fri, 12 Oct 2001 22:30:33 GMT
On Fri, 12 Oct 2001 14:41:03 +0200, Stefano Mazzocchi <> wrote:

> Ovidiu Predescu wrote:
> > 
> > On Thu, 11 Oct 2001 05:57:59 -0700 (PDT), Davanum Srinivas <>
> > wrote:
> > 
> > > Since "We have to eat our own dog-food". See attached that
> > > uses httpClient from Jakarta commons to post the SOAP request and
> > > gets the output successfully. I'd really appreciate it if you could
> > > take some time to post a patch for switching to httpClient from
> > > Jakarta commons.....
> > 
> > Oh, how I hate these licensing issues... 
> I did too, until I understood that we are *all* in a very undefined
> legal state and we are stepping on big corporations' toes. Apache *owns*
> the web server market and this is, by far, the *most* important software
> leadership in the world about economical ventures (even today after the
> .com crash).

I agree with you here, and that's exactly why non-profit foundations
like FSF and Apache came into play. FSF did quite a bit of work in the
past in promoting very good free software tools. Apache did it with
the Web server and many other great technologies.

> If we don't shield us strongly, it is very likely that corporations will
> tear us apart with stuff like the DMCA and shit like that. Sure, we
> could move the development in Europe for a while.

I'm not sure you're more protected if we move development to
Europe. Jon Johansen, the author of DeCSS, was arrested by the
Norwegian police on grounds of violating copyright laws in US. If they
want to come after you, they will!

> > I just hate when licensing issues in the free software/open source 
> > world dictate over technical merits. 
> Well:
> 1) the GPL is a restrictive license since it *forces* users to donate
> their code as well. RMS' concept of freedom is honestly very different
> from mine and from Apache's in general.

RMS has his own view of freedom, which is very strong. While I respect
his opinion and understand where he's coming from, I cannot agree with
some of his positions and actions.

> 2) LGPL and java don't mix. This is one of the few "legal bugs" that the
> GPL has but since GNU hates Java because it's owned by Sun, they don't
> give a damn about these legal bugs and leave users in the void.

While GPL is very restrictive, LGPL is far different from it. LGPL
allows even commercial packages to include LGPL libraries, without
having to disclose their proprietary source code.

I don't see how LGPL and Java don't mix. And I don't believe GNU hates
Java; they may hate the licensing restrictions imposed by Sun on the
source of JDK, but not the language. In fact if you look at the GNU
site, there are quite a few projects related to Java. To quote a few,
see the Java front-end for the GNU compiler, the Kaffe implementation
of the JVM, and few others which try to implement the low level Java
infrastructure needed to run any Java application.

Also if you look at GPL and FSF's position over the years on it,
they've done a pretty good job on protecting people that released
software under this license. How can you explain Microsoft's
nervousness about GPLed software? FSF stands strongly in the back of
GPL, protecting the developers and users.

> 3) very few developers discuss license issues nor understand their
> far-reaching implications. It was the same for me before becoming an
> Apache member, but after seeing people jailed in the US for cracking
> DVDs or PDF encryption, we all should be more careful than this.

I've been pounding on these issues for years now, and I think I have a
pretty good understanding of their implications. I am or was involved
in several GNU and non-GNU projects, each with different licenses. I
did hit the licensing and copyright issues you mention above.

> 4) all these license issues have *never* being tested in court and they
> mostly depend on RMS's mood (and some ASF members', admittely) rather
> than solid technical arguments (it's the legal field and this is how it
> works, unfortunately).
> I'd love all this to be avoided, you don't even know how much. But there
> is not much that we can do about it.

I don't agree these depend on RMS' mood. If you listen to what he
says, you'll notice that he's very constant in his statements. Again,
not that I agree with all of them.

> > It looks like Apache is no better than FSF when it comes to
> > licenses :-(
> I personally consider this *very* offensive and untrue. 

What is offensive here? I was referring to the restrictions FSF puts
on the ability to bundle software packages together based on their
licenses. If I remember correctly, Apache aimed to remove these
barriers, and give developers and users more freedom with respect to
bundling software. What I see here is not the original promise, but
exactly the same pattern followed by FSF. I believe LGPL and APL can
and should coexist peacefully.

> Probably you don't know this, but by placing your code under ASF's
> copyright, the foundation is going to protect *you* if something happens
> on our code. It is going to pay the lawyers and all that stuff. It even
> shields you from be liable yourself directly.

Sure, I know and understand that. FSF does exactly the same, except
it's much stricter with respect to the contributions made by
people. They require the developers *and* their employers, if any, to
sign copyright assignments for the work they do. Unless they submit
them, none of their work gets incorporated in the project. ASF is much
looser, and I very much like this. But perhaps in the event of
something happening, FSF has things much more under control than ASF.

> So, people, remember than when you receive committer status, you are
> responsible for what you do, so also for those patches you place into
> the CVS.
> Legal protection is like medical insurance: painful and expensive, until
> you or someone in your family gets hurt.
> Think more about it.

My point is that we should not equate FSF == "the bad guys" or LGPL ->
"don't use it". The people behind them just happen to have a different
opinion than yours on what freedom for software means. If you look at
the things they produced in the past 15 years of so, it's just
amazing. It would be a shame for all of us to start rewriting each
other's stuff, just because of licensing issues. Especially when the
licenses don't conflict, as IMO is the case with LGPL and APL. But
maybe there are things which I neglected, in which case I'm more than
willing to learn about them.

Best regards,
Ovidiu Predescu <> (inside HP's firewall only) (my SourceForge page) (GNU, Emacs, other stuff)

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