geronimo-dev mailing list archives

Site index · List index
Message view « Date » · « Thread »
Top « Date » · « Thread »
From "Sam Ruby" <>
Subject Re: SUN PROPRIETARY/CONFIDENTIAL code in myfaces
Date Sat, 04 Aug 2007 11:23:11 GMT
On 8/4/07, David Jencks <> wrote:
> BTW, the theory under which we (geronimo) has been operating is that
> the sun copyright and legal statements apply to the text
> documentation in the schemas and that once that is removed the rest
> forms a part of the javaee specifications that we have a license to
> implement, so we can translate it by any means we want (such as
> xmlbeans, jaxb, castor, etc etc) to produce source code or class
> files or pretty much anything else.  I don't see how it's possible to
> implement the specification without this: IMO without this
> interpretation any javaee product must be cddl.

I acknowledge that there was a time critical question in the portions
that I snipped, but first I think that it is important that we come to
a common understanding of what the problem is.  Given that there are
lawyers on this list, I'm sure that somebody will point out the
thousands of tiny mistakes that I'm about to make, but I'm confident
that I have the broad brush strokes right, so here goes...

In order for us to legally distribute some Work, we must comply with
all the terms and conditions in the licenses that contribute to that
work.  That's it.  End of sentence.

Presuming that we do that, do we have the right to distribute code
under the CDDL?  Yes, absolutely.  Are there any terms or conditions
in CDDL that we would find overly burdensome to *us* (the ones
releasing the software)?  Absolutely not.

Furthermore, we even have the rights to distribute the version of XSDs
that SUN PROPRIETARY/CONFIDENTIAL, even though Sun labeling it so
brings into doubt what their true intentions were in licensing this
materials, which makes our ability to demonstrate that we have
complied with their intentions harder.  Note that I said harder, I
didn't say impossible.  We have ample documentation to demonstrate
that the ASF has the right to ship these XSDs, but who wants to have
to go and explain all this time and time again, potentially to each
and every new user of Geronimo?

Back to CDDL.  I have no personal knowledge as to why Sun picked this
particular license, but let's look at it in context.  Each of the XSDs
in question represents a machine readable codification of a portion of
a standard.  As a standard means that you and I do something the same
way, any modification means that you and I are doing something
different, so it isn't a standard.  So, effectively, we are taking
these sources in and agreeing not to modify them, which makes them not
open source.  If you think we have heartburn on CDDL, think about the
idea of the ASF shipping code that contains portions that are not open

But, we are not about to say that standards are not a good thing.  To
the contrary.

This is all absurd.  You can see the source.  You can change it, as
long as you don't claim compatibility.  Now, with CDDL, that is
explicit.  Yea!

So, what's the problem here?

The problem isn't with Sun.  The problem is with the ASF.  The ASF is
about community (how we develop software) and license (what we permit
users of our code to do).

Our license is part of who we are.  Others may distribute things under
different licenses, and that, in part, defines who they are.

Our license intentionally allows users to modify, sublicense, and
distribute our code.  All of it.  If people want to contribute back
their changes to us, they can join our communities.  If people want to
release their changes under their own license, they can do that too.
If people want to retain their changes and only distribute binaries,
that's OK too.

Most of our code bases make it easy for our users.  Everything comes
under one license.  A license that it relatively short, and well

Geronimo isn't one of those code bases.  It contains many parts from
many sources.  In releasing Geronimo, we need to make sure that all of
this is crystal clear.  The bulk is under the ASF license, and people
are free to modify that bulk as they see fit.  Some portions are
packaged with the distribution as a convenience (or in the case of
these XSDs, as a necessity), but none of these subcomponents impose
any additional restrictions on what you can do with the code that we
produce, and all of it is clearly labeled.

In particular, (and I may just be misreading your statement), it is
NOT the case that "any javaee product must BE cddl", but rather "any
javaee product must CONTAIN cddl" (actually, those files can be
licensed under other licenses, but lets not digress).

So... what is the ASF legal committee and the Geronimo PMC to do?
Well, again, legally, Geronomo has the right to make releases as long
as those releases comply with the appropriate licenses, so one could
make the case that everything from that point on is up to the Geronimo
PMC.  And, in fact, this stuff is complicated enough that how you make
the determination as to what makes sense in any particular situation
depends very much on the situation, so again, it is Geronimo's

On the other hand, given that this stuff is complicated, it makes
sense for us to pool our knowledge.  Have a central place where
projects can go to (and contribute back to) where general guidelines
are captured and interesting special cases are referenced.

Things like "yes, the license for foo.dtd requires people to provide
source with any changes that they distribute, but project P only uses
the dtd in a way that consumes the source itself directly at runtime,
so that requirement doesn't apply in our situation", and "the license
for bar.xsd requires that people provide source with any changes that
they make, and we want to make this crystal clear to people.  Since
bar.xsd doesn't change very often, we compile it into .class (or .jar)
files, and check that into SVN, along with instructions on where to
find the original sources".

I've rambled for long enough now... so let me close with this: let's
suppose somebody gets this wrong (it happens).  A bug report comes in.
 Where do you think such a bug report would be routed?  To the board?
To the legal committee?  To Geronimo?  If you guess the third, you
would be right.

How can I help?  Well, for starters, I don't want to spend any of my
time answering any time critical hypotheticals.  Nor do I want
somebody to back up a dump truck, and say "here's Geronimo, you figure
it out".  But if there are specific questions that we can jointly work
through, I am here to help.

If this makes sense, we can go back to your specific question(s).  If
not, let's see if we can come to a common understanding of the context
before we proceed.

Fair enough?

View raw message