geronimo-dev mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
From Brian Behlendorf <>
Subject Re: ObjectWeb (was Re: ASM looks cool but LGPL)
Date Wed, 03 Sep 2003 07:26:20 GMT

(re-adding the cc: to

On Tue, 2 Sep 2003, Jim Jagielski wrote:
> One key item to recall is that when we came up with the Apache License,
> one of the main considerations to it was that there would be
> nothing in the license or code that would restrict *anyone* from
> taking the code and using it as needed (as long as such basic
> things as attribution and trademarks were honored).


> Thus, you can see that any License that restricts the freedom associated
> with the user conflicts with the Apache License.

To clarify - if you take A (Apache-licensed) and B (licensed under any
other license) and combine them into AB, you must follow the terms of both
licenses when distributing the combined work.  Thus, the "derived" license
- the superset of terms in the licenses of A and B - is what matters.
The Apache license is designed to nearly disappear in the case of "AB",
since its requirements are so easy to satisfy.

The GPL is only "compatible" in this same way with code whose license has
terms that are a strict subset of the GPL's own terms, simply because the
GPL forbids people from adding additional terms when they redistribute GPL
code.  Strictly speaking there are terms in the Apache license that are
not in the GPL license - such as the part about mentioning where the
Apache software came from in "end-user documentation or wherever such
notices normally appear".  This is hardly contrary in spirit to the GPL,
which itself has a similar clause in section 2c.

While I am not officially speaking for the ASF here, I think everyone at
the ASF would be fine with a combination of codebase A (Apache-licensed)
and codebase B (GPL-licensed) resulting in a codebase AB that is
GPL-licensed.  This generosity towards the GPL is the same generosity we
feel towards corporations including our code in commercial projects.
However that same reason is why we can not accept GPL'd code into code the
ASF would redistribute.

The LGPL follows the same rules, though scoped a bit more narrowly to the
"library" level rather than the whole "work based on the Program" that the
GPL defines.  Modulo some other differences.

Thus, if the Jonas and Geronimo developers wish to work together on a
common piece of code that both teams need, it makes sense that the
codebase they work on should be Apache-licensed.  That makes it possible
for both teams to use and develop common code, even if the end result in
Jonas is LGPL'd as a whole.

If there is still concern about using Apache-licensed code within GPL or
LGPL projects due to the FSF's claim that they are incompatible, then
there are two things that the Apache developers could petition the ASF
Board to do:

a) Consider making a public statement that the Apache license is
compatible with the GPL and LGPL.  While the FSF may continue to disagree,
this would reassure everyone that the ASF would not pursue any action to
prevent the use of Apache software inside a GPL project.

b) Officially dual-license all Apache code under both the Apache license
and the LGPL.

I consider a) much more likely to succeed than b) for emotional reasons,
though I tend to think neither is mandatory at this point.


View raw message