esme-dev mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
From David Pollak <>
Subject Re: SAP Services in ESME (was: UI widgets for ESME)
Date Sun, 06 Dec 2009 04:37:51 GMT

Being a lawyer by training and living with one of the world's premier IP
litigators, I've got a lot of experience and exposure to IP law.

I'm also a raging pragmatist when it comes to open source software... I am
troubled by the "all software must be free" FSF position as much as I'm
troubled by the "if you have one unlicensed MP3 on your iPod, you go to
jail" position.  I am a strong believer in open source that is capable of
being commercialized and the Apache 2 license describes that very well.

I am deeply concerned by the fact that we have to have this conversation.
I'm not exactly clear on the details of where SAP might or has in the past
expressed where its IP rights end, but I want to be clear about where I
expect the rights in the ESME code to be:

   - All of the contributors to ESME have signed CLAs that are very clear
   about the license under which all code in the ESME repository exists: the
   Apache 2 license.  If any of the committers or folks who have posted patches
   on JIRA have any questions about their ability to actually grant an Apach 2
   license in the works because they have used NetWeaver in their development
   process or otherwise had exposure to SAP APIs then they should step forward
   ASAP and we should pull all their contributions out of the code.  *If you
   are not 100% sure that your code is your own work and it can be cleanly
   licensed under the Apache 2 license, say it now.*
   - If there are questions about running ESME on NetWeaver or in other ways
   designing ESMEs web APIs in ways that work well with SAP's software such
   that doing either of these things might allow SAP to assert some IP rights
   in the ESME code, then I say we don't even start doing those things.  I am a
   believer in very clear, bright lines in terms of licensing and license
   rights.  If there's not a clear line, then we should not do it.  Period.

I have no interest in making business cases to SAP or trying to explain
things to SAP lawyers about where IP rights start and end.  In think it's a
bad use of the limited ESME resources.  I think it's a fool's errand... and
I say that with scars on my back trying to do similar things with IBM and
non-Jobs Apple in the mid 90s.

So, anyone who can't be 100% sure that their contributions to ESME are 100%
squeaky clean IP wise should say so now and we'll mitigate.  Any future
contributions to ESME have to be SAP taint free without question.



On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 12:38 PM, Bechauf, Michael

> Ethan,
> it is no wonder that the developer community is asking questions, because
> honestely, sometimes I am not understanding all of our legal agreements,
> particularely where we are "open, but proprietary" - in other words where we
> seemingly share content like WSDLs and field names openly, but in reality
> you are already bound to some license agreement in order to access this
> information.
> I would assume that our lawyers have done their jobs. The intent is clear,
> and that is to protect Enterprise Services from unauthorized use. The issue
> is that we are trying to defend ourselves against competitors but in the
> process of doing so also create issues with open source licenses.
> As you know, there is a major thaw in our relationship to open source
> communities; we are starting to contribute freely and with little
> bureaucratic overhead - at least in areas that are non-differentiating to
> us. The conclusion is clearly that we have more to benefit by contributing
> back than by locking down the fort.
> With Enterprise Services, we are unfortunately still in sort of a dilemma.
> On the one side, it would be good that open source software would be closely
> affialted with SAP software; on the other side, this means that the neatly
> protected ES definitions become subject to OS licenses and thus more open
> than we perhaps are comfortable with.
> In the end, it comes down to a business decision, and I think things like
> ESME will help make the case. It don't think there is any doubt that we
> don't want to build an engine like ESME ourselves. ESME also needs to be
> open, and not tied to SAP only. In the world of a borderless enterprise, we
> can't assume that everybody has SAP, so an engine that only works for SAP
> does not make sense. Open source is a great way to design the openness from
> the get-go.
> So, I know we have to come clean. As one of our lawyers recently said, it
> is easy to build a completely open company, and a completely closed one - to
> get it right and build something right in the middle is hard. Microsoft has
> done some good work with their Open Specifications Promise where they said
> exactly where they are open. Perhaps SAP needs to learn from that.
> My suggestion is therefore for the ESME team (and for anybody else who
> cares) to help us build a business case why net-net interoperability of SAP
> to open source is good, and to help us define how open we need to be. That
> is more productive than kind of second guessing the licenses we have in
> place because the openness on SDN can be deceiving. Yes, you can browse the
> ES definitions but once you drill down into the WSDLs you have to register
> and for that, I believe you have to agree to some license. Trust me, I
> believe our lawyers when they say that in order to build software with ES
> services you must use one of our dev licenses. I would not get into
> questions whether SAP can even protect weird stuff like a field named
> "BUKRS", or whether an API to create a purchase order is patentable or can
> be protected by copyrights. We need to build the business case that
> innovations like ESME benefit SAP, and higher interoperability is good.
> For that, I hope that the demo of ESME at the influencer summit will help.
> I would not be shy in saying that right now it's great that the approval
> process to get SAP employees to contribute to ESME is straight forward, but
> to get SAP software to interoperate with ESME is hard due to licensing.
> Best,
> Michael
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Ethan Jewett <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Sat Dec 05 12:30:36 2009
> Subject: SAP Services in ESME (was: UI widgets for ESME)
> I think this topic deserves a separate discussion. It is something we
> probably need to address at some point, and I don't want to derail the
> widgets discussion.
> I was wrong to imply that SAP purposefully attempts to spread fear,
> uncertainty, or doubt on this topic. It doesn't. However, there is a
> lot of uncertainty and misalignment between SAP and the developer
> community, which results in doubt and fear.
> I disagree with Michael that a widget interfacing with an SAP
> Enterprise Service necessarily falls under any SAP license
> restriction. Such a widget would not need to include Enterprise
> Services in any sense. It would simply need to take a URL pointing to
> an arbitrary WSDL and it would need to make some assumptions about the
> field names and structures of the service. Field names and structures
> are information that SAP provides publicly, with no license
> restrictions (as far as I can tell) at
> However, as I mentioned, SAP's position on the IP around these
> services is sufficiently uncertain and opaque that I would not be
> comfortable including them in this project until SAP's lawyers
> specifically address this use case. (It is not addressed in the
> Netweaver Developer license agreement linked below, and developers who
> develop against SAP Enterprise Services are not necessarily bound by
> this license agreement.)
> Do we have an overall approach or understanding on this issue that has
> already been developed? If not, it might be worth discussing specific
> scenarios and our comfort level with them.
> Ethan
> On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 10:23 PM, Bechauf, Michael
> <> wrote:
> > There is no FUD about it; I think we've been quite transparent (or so I
> > hope) about our IP positions.
> >
> > SAP Enterprise Services need to be licensed, and there are a number of
> > provisions in those licenses that would restrict the free distribution
> > of code. Currently, there is no standalone license for SAP Enterprise
> > Services, but you only get them with SAP customer agreements, SAP
> > partner agreements, SAP NetWeaver developer subscriptions or the free
> > SAP NetWeaver Developer License. You can check out the license agreement
> > here
> > <
> > d/d07ab93b-1d0e-2b10-ed9e-8d35d34a2fed&refer=subscriptionsssrl> .
> >
> > If you put SAP Enterprise Services into Apache code, a developer may
> > create a derivative work that is incompatible with the SAP Enterprise
> > Service license. For exampe, if they create commercial products (i.e.
> > for sale), they have to buy a license from SAP. I talked to Geir
> > Magnusson about it, and his opinion (and I don't think you need a lawyer
> > to confirm this) was that this was incompatible with the Apache license.
> >
> > So, in other words, Ethan is right. I would not put code that contains
> > SAP Enterprise Services into the Apache distribution. If you want to
> > work together on a widget that contains SAP code, you can do this on the
> > SAP Forge called SDN Code Exchange
> > <> . In other
> > words, you can safely develop a widget framework in Apache, but for the
> > concrete widget instance that interfaces with SAP, I would not put it
> > into Apache.
> >
> > Best,
> > Michael
> >
> > ________________________________
> >
> > From: Ethan Jewett []
> > Sent: Friday, Dec 04, 2009 6:10 AM
> > To:
> > Subject: Re: UI widgets for ESME
> >
> >
> > That looks very interesting and I think it's a great idea. A couple
> > comments (sorry, it's been a busy week, so this is a bit off-the-cuff):
> >
> > 1. I'd like to echo Daniel's suggestion to pursue an existing widget
> > container/standard if we do this. To offer another option: Shindig is a
> > pretty mature implementation of the OpenSocial widget container
> > standard. (Oh, and it's an Apache project -
> > ;-)
> >
> > 2. I wonder if we might want to consider embedding *ESME* into a widget
> > platform (via the APIs) rather than embedding *widgets* into ESME. My
> > impression is that this might be a lot easier and may more closely align
> > with how ESME will be deployed (in the Enterprise) with a UI wrapper.
> >
> > 3. I'm skittish about putting code into ESME that interfaces with SAP
> > modules. My understanding of SAP's IP position is that code that
> > interfaces with SAP Enterprise Services contains SAP IP and cannot be
> > licensed under an Apache 2.0 license (or at least SAP reserves the right
> > to spread FUD on the topic). I'm not comfortable working on code that
> > does this or committing it to an Apache project until SAP clarifies its
> > position publicly and unequivocally. Because of this, I think we can
> > provide a framework and examples, but I think we should think twice
> > before providing an actual widget that interfaces with SAP as part of
> > the distribution.
> >
> > Ethan
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 6:13 PM, Marcelo Pham <> wrote:
> >
> >
> >        Hi there,
> >
> >        I had a chat with Dick and he thought it would be good to share
> > this idea we had for Akibot with the ESME community:
> >
> >        General concept
> >
> >        1. The idea is to include a "widget" area to ESME front end.
> > These widgets would be plug & play components that help users from a
> > same group or department to see real time info, such as financials,
> > inventory maps, sales, etc. etc.
> >        In brief, we would be marrying business intelligence (widgets
> > showing relevant, summarized information in real time) with social media
> > (microblog), this would give the whole group a sense of total business
> > awareness (they would know exactly what's going on, what employees are
> > chatting about, issues (microblog), what's the most named item, the most
> > mentioned customer (tags), figures for sales, inventory (widgets))
> >
> >        2. For example, the executive and sales groups would have a
> > widget in their microblog that would show real time information for
> > today's and YTD orders:
> >
> >
> >
> >        This widget would read data from the SD module and inform
> > everybody how sales are doing.
> >
> >        3. We would start with widgets that read from SAP modules (SD,
> > FI, MM, etc.) and maybe after we could extend it to other ERP's (JD
> > Edwards, Mas500, Navision, etc) or other groupware apps (Salesforce,
> > Exchange, etc.)
> >
> >        Details
> >
> >        4. If ESME can be skinnable (meaning to allow users to change
> > around the HTML of the front end) these widgets could be embeddable in
> > the form of an object, like:
> >        <object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000"
> > codebase="" width="200" height="400"
> > align="middle">
> >           <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="sameDomain" />
> >           <param name="movie" value="widget1.swf" />
> >           <param name="quality" value="high" />
> >           <param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff" />
> >
> >           <param name="feed_username" value="username" />
> >           <param name="feed_password" value="12345abcd" />
> >
> >           <param name="feed_url" value="" />
> >            <embed src="widget1.swf" quality="high" bgcolor="#ffffff"
> > width="200" height="400" name="foo" align="middle"
> > allowScriptAccess="sameDomain" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"
> > pluginspage="" />
> >        </object>
> >        Or something like this but using JS.
> >
> >        5. Widgets would be available to download from common open
> > repositories such as ESME website, Google code, etc. A widget would be
> > composed by a Flash or JS file to download, and a sample code to embed
> > into the HTML front end with instructions on how to customize it. We
> > will contribute with all the widgets we do and also help develop widgets
> > made by other members.
> >
> >        6. Since these will be all behind-the-firewall installations,
> > there should not be many security issues, although we would include a
> > username/password to authenticate to the SAP feed
> >
> >        Open for discussion
> >
> >        7. Embeddable code / format: we haven't decided what formats
> > will be the best (JS, Flash, both...)
> >
> >        8. Connection / authentication: how to connect to the SAP feed
> > and how to authenticate to it
> >
> >        9. Widget permissions: how to allow/hide widgets for different
> > groups (for example the sales widget should not be shown to the
> > purchasing group, etc.)
> >
> >
> >        What do you guys think?
> >
> >
> >        Good night,
> >
> >
> >
> >        Marcelo Pham
> >        Head Developer
> >        Akibot
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >

Lift, the simply functional web framework
Beginning Scala
Follow me:
Surf the harmonics

  • Unnamed multipart/alternative (inline, None, 0 bytes)
View raw message