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From "Geir Magnusson Jr." <ge...@apache.org>
Subject Re: On Tainting/Residual Rights (Was: Re: [Legal] Requirements for Committers)
Date Fri, 10 Jun 2005 12:58:36 GMT

On Jun 9, 2005, at 8:10 AM, Bruno F. Souza wrote:

> Dalibor Topic wrote:
>> You can look at free software and work on other software as much  
>> as you want to, as free software licenses do not claim further  
>> rights beyound the rights granted to the author through copyright  
>> laws. I.e. if you copy or modify free software works, you are  
>> bound by their license terms, as the copyright laws grant the  
>> authors a say in derivative works. If you don't do that, then the  
>> author has no say in your own, original work. You are allowed to  
>> study free software (freedom 1 [1]). You can do what you want with  
>> that knowledge, modulo patents and creating derived works.[0]
> Well, the "tainting" (if that can be said that way) on open source  
> licenses only have any effect if the original license has some  
> reciprocity rules (like the GPL/LGPL for example) that prevents you  
> to use the code anyway you want. Under copyright, you cannot simply  
> copy the code, and as such, Harmony's code should not bear any  
> resemblance to other free J2SE implementations to which the license  
> is not Apache compatible. As seen in the JBoss vs Geronimo legal  
> discussion, we should probably be careful here as well.

To be clear, there never was any JBoss code copied for Geronimo.  One  
issue from that discussion was similarity of design approach, but I  
think that's ok.  If we see that Kaffe has a great trick of caching  
the $foo objects to solve the problem of constantly reloading from  
disk, then I don't see a problem with us using the same strategy as  
long as we don't use the source code from Kaffe.

This is how fields of knowledge grow - people learn from each other.

> And another can or worms is Sun's research license (JRL), that  
> specifically says:
>      B.  Residual Rights.  You may use any information in
>      intangible form that you remember after accessing the
>      Technology, except when such use violates Sun's copyrights
>      or patent rights.
> That pretty much spells out the same as what Dalibor said:
> > You can do what you want with that knowledge, modulo
> > patents [rights] and creating derived works [copyright rights].
> So, if we're allowing (with the mentioned care to not infringe  
> copyright rights) anyone to work on Harmony that have worked on the  
> open source implementations, should we allow those that have read  
> or worked on Sun's code under the JRL the same treatment?

This non-lawyer says yes, but there may be some clarification needed.

> Or for the sake of extra care, we should avoid both or one of the  
> situations? Maybe that would be going too far? Geronimo did not  
> avoid contributions from people that worked at JBoss, and I  
> understand that besides some trouble along the way, it all turned  
> out OK in the end.

Yes.  One of the key lessons from Geronimo (which had nothing to do  
with JBoss, actually) was that we should track the "bulk"  
contributions, even from committers.  These can be a small as a  
developers favorite little string library or something, and if that  
person has been doing OSS for a while, has probably licensed that  
under other licenses to other projects.  That dev is free to  
relicense if they choose, of course.  The problem is when someone  
does a source code comparison and gets a match, questions are asked,  
and it's much easier to answer the question when you have a database  
of contributions you can refer to rather than "um, lets go look..."


> More food for though...
> -- 
> Bruno.
> ______________________________________________________________________
> Bruno Peres Ferreira de Souza                         Brazil's JavaMan
> http://www.javaman.com.br                      bruno at javaman.com.br
>         if I fail, if I succeed, at least I live as I believe

Geir Magnusson Jr                                  +1-203-665-6437

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