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From Geoff Howard <>
Subject Re: The (new) Jisp 3.0 license
Date Fri, 20 Feb 2004 21:05:02 GMT
Scott Robert Ladd wrote:

> Steven Noels wrote:
>> We kindly ask you to consider these issues and get back to us at your 
>> convenience. The Cocoon PMC list ( is private 
>> to PMC members only, if you would like to make a public comment feel 
>> free to do that on
> I've CC'd this to the list above; I'd appreciate it if any discussion 
> would be CC'd back to me as well. Please read the entire message 
> before commenting; it may start out sounding a bit negative, but in 
> the end, I think you get what you want. :)
>> let me first start with thanking you for a wonderful set of tools, 
>> which we have eagerly been using over the years.
> I'm glad to know it was useful.
>> Cocoon has been using Jisp for quite some time, and it served us well 
>> as a migration from a filesystem based cache store. We have been 
>> hitting some Jisp bugs lately, which made us looking forward to 
>> migrate to the upcoming 3.0 version.
> Older versions of Jisp did, indeed, have some problems; initially, 
> Jisp was an algorithmic demonstration for one of my books, and it was 
> not intended for "real world use".
> Given the number of people who have used Jisp, I decided to refactor 
> the package in a more professional form. Thus, Jisp 3.0, which is 
> based on the code I use in commercial products.
>> Quite to our surprise however, we just found out that Jisp 3 now 
>> comes with the MySQL-like combo-license: GPL + commercial licensing 
>> possibility.
>> Of course, we cannot and will not have any say into which license you 
>> should use for your products, since it's your blood and tears that 
>> went into it. As open source developers however, we have some 
>> considerations about licenses which we'd like to confront you with.
> I appreciate your talking to me about this. Please indulge me in a bit 
> of background story, so you understand why I changed licenses.
> I'm not a twenty-something college student who can afford to hack free 
> software for free; I am an independent business man and 
> forty-something father of three. My first "free" products appeared 
> back in the 1980s, and I've written several programming books, so I'm 
> a long-time believer in sharing code with the community. A society can 
> not progress if knowledge is kept secret.
> As such, I originally released Jisp under a libpng-style license.
> In the last year or so, I've been hounded by people who "demand" 
> support for Jisp -- including those who use Jisp via Apache. While I 
> politely inform them that my time isn't free, the frequency of such 
> requests is increasing. When I request some form of renumeration for 
> providing support, they act as if I've suggested concourse with a devil.
> My frustration lies with people who use and praise Jisp without any 
> feeling of obligation to me, other than a hearty handshake (at best). 
> My frustration grows when I know that people are profiting from my 
> code, without so much as an acknowledgement.
> I am not a greedy soul, and excess wealth is not one of my goals in 
> life; however, I have three daughters, a wife, and a managerie of 
> critters that need my financial support. These are dark economic times 
> in our industry; survival for an independent consultant (like me) is 
> tenuous even in the best of times.
> For me, the change in license (to the GPL) is an attempt to find 
> equity in people's use of my code. "Fairness" is, of course, a matter 
> of perception. In my case, I have received nothing from the Apache 
> project beyond the "hearty handshake" level. It's not that I don't 
> want Apache to use Jisp -- it's that I know people are paid to work on 
> Apache, and that many people make money selling Apache support and 
> services.
> It seems to me that those who find value in my creation should also be 
> willing to reward me for my contribution.
>> The ASF policy is not to use, link or distribute software 
>> (components) which use the (L)GPL license, since these licenses 
>> prohibit the redistribution of ASF software linking, using or 
>> embedding such dependencies along the same terms as the Apache 
>> Software License (1 or 2) allows.
> I am not a fan of Mr. Stallman's religion; however, his license does 
> have the weight of support behind it at this point, and using GPL 
> solves a number of problems I've had in being compatible with some 
> other "free" projects.
>> With the new ASL, it is allowed that ASF software is (re)packaged as 
>> a new open source project which is distributed under the GPL. Adding 
>> onto that, we regard the new ASL as being compatible with the GPL, 
>> while the FSF decided the contrary, without tangible reason: a matter 
>> of policy rather than legal differences, so it seems. So we have a 
>> bit of an issue with the GPL, to put it frankly.
> Ah, more of Mr. Stallman's pedantry -- one of the reasons I resisted 
> the GPL for many years.
>> The license change of Jisp is most likely going to force us to 
>> replace Jisp by some other dbm. Other ASF projects which use Jisp 
>> will be forced to do the same. This is bad since we, apart from some 
>> small issues, were quite happy with Jisp and had no technical reason 
>> to move away. And since we are a volunteer organization, things we 
>> are forced to do are always much harder than things we like to work 
>> on - I'm sure you understand that.
> As I've said, I'm not a greedy person; I'm willing tio resolve the 
> issue by giving Apache a unique license that eliminates the 
> contention. Let me know what your requirements are; I can allow Apache 
> to continue using Jisp under the libpng-style license, for example.
> Perhaps Apache's developers could consider ways in which you could 
> respond in kind? If not in money, then perhaps in other ways.
> In particular, it needs to be made very clear to Apache's users that 
> they can not expect (or demand) free support for Jisp from me. I 
> simply can't afford it.
>> Adding onto that, we saw ample reference being made on 
>> to the Apache project. 
>> It's a bit awkward to see us being used as a reference "customer" 
>> case, while at the same time being made impossible to use your library.
> I wouldn't say "ample reference"; a couple of links is about all. It's 
> not like I make any claim to being part of the Apache project, nor 
> have I received a single commercial client via my tangental 
> association with Apache. The main reason I list Apache by name is that 
> my commercial applications of Jisp are covered by various 
> non-disclosure agreements; it's nice to associate with a name that 
> people recognize. If you strenuously object, I'll be more than happy 
> to remove the association.
> I think we can work this out to everyone's satisfaction.

Thanks for your measured response.

As I understand it, the problem presented with the new 3.0 licensing 
revolves around the issue of linking and derivative works with the GPL.  
You've offered very kindly to find a mutually beneficial arrangement in 
the licensing - at first glance it looks as if such a suggestion would 
grant Apache itself the right to use, but if that could force our 
end-users into a license conflict if we wouldn't be able to enter into 
such an arrangement.  We need to preserve the right of our end users to 
profit from our software with no strings attached except as noted in the 
Apache license.  Perhaps some OEM-type license could be offered which 
limits use of Jisp within the Apache product in its bundled form.   
IANAL, and I don't even pretend to understand all the issues involved 
and whether my suggestion satisfies the complex issues at hand.  If that 
sounds like what you were thinking, we could bring up the idea on 
apache's licensing mail list.


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