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From Leo Simons <m...@leosimons.com>
Subject The Unofficial "Harmony, Licensing, the Universe and everything" FAQ
Date Wed, 09 Nov 2005 13:38:08 GMT
I keep getting lost in the licensing discussions. I *think* the below accurately
represents where we are right now.

    = The Unofficial "Harmony, Licensing, the Universe and everything" FAQ =
     
                            version 0.0.0.1-SNAPSHOT

Q: What do you mean, "unofficial"

A: Not written by someone with a clue about legal stuff, not reviewed by the ASF
   legal team or anyone else with enough of a brain to understand this stuff
   enough, not even reviewed by most of the harmony crew. Its UNOFFICIAL, okay?
   Its also not legal advice. I Am Not A Lawyer. I don't play one on tv either,
   though I played one on stage the other day.


Q: under what license is the harmony code?

A: the Apache License, version 2.0. Parts of our code are licensed to the ASF
   under the terms of its Contributor License Agreement and/or its Corporate
   Contributor License Agreement, licenses which allow the ASF to sublicense
   those contributions to its users under the terms of the Apache License,
   version 2.0.
   
   Parts of our code may be licensed under terms which allow sublicensing of
   under the terms of the Apache License. Such licenses include the MIT/X
   License and the modified BSD license, and potentially others.
   
   Parts of our code may be dependent on binaries licensed under terms which
   allow sublicensing of those binaries under the Apache License and for which
   the source code of those binaries is licensed under an open source license.
   Such licenses include the MPL version 1.1, the CDDL version 1.0, and
   potentially others.
   
   Parts of our code may have optional dependencies on binaries or source code
   licensed under other terms. For example, the Microsoft Windows version of
   harmony obviously depends on the availability of Microsoft Windows, which,
   the last time we checked, was not available under an open source license.
   
   You can use these individual parts seperately under whatever terms apply to
   them. We are making an effort to track the licenses that apply to all
   significant individual parts of our code.
   
   However, the full combined work is always licensed under the Apache License,
   version 2.0.


Q: does or will harmony contain code licensed under other terms?

A: No.


Q: does or will harmony contain code licensed under the LGPL?

A: No.


Q: does or will harmony depend on code licensed under the LGPL?

A: Maybe. The ASF is working on a specific policy for allowing ASF projects to
   have optional dependencies on binaries licensed under the LGPL.


Q: does or will harmony contain code licensed under the GPL?

A: No.


Q: does or will harmony code depend on code licensed under the GPL?

A: No.


Q: does or will harmony code depend on GNU Classpath?

A: Maybe. Once the ASF and FSF legal teams settle the LGPL stuff described
   above, hopefully more attention will turn to answering whether we can / want
   to depend on Classpath (from the legal perspective). (GNU Classpath is
   licensed under the GPL but has a special exception:

     http://www.gnu.org/software/classpath/license.html

   ) which may or may not turn out to be acceptable. Even if the exception is
   not suitable in its current form the ASF will try to work with the FSF and
   the GNU Classpath developers to figure out some kind of workable arrangement.
   
   It is rather certain that some of our code will, while in development inside
   our SVN trees or inside our issue tracker or on our mailing list or
   elsewhere, have optional and/or non-optional dependencies on GNU Classpath.
   
   We certainly hope to produce code that allows end users to combine harmony
   code or binaries with GNU Classpath code or binaries, using GNU Classpath as
   the class library. Whether we can ship such a thing "as the default" and/or
   call it "java" (because it is certified by Sun) is a lot more uncertain.
   
   It is also not unlikely that harmony develops an alternative class library
   implementation licensed under the Apache License or similar terms. However,
   even if that were to happen we are hoping that all the legal stuff can be
   resolved so we can use GNU Classpath, se we can offer our users a choice.
   Choice is good.


Q: does or will harmony code depend on "external JVM X"?

A: No. Harmony will contain its own JVM implementation, or more likely we will
   have several.

   However, we do hope to interoperate with various other open source JVM
   implementations and work with their developers as much as possible. If we for
   example develop an alternative class library we would hope to make that
   available for use with other JVMs. We might also provide ways in which you
   can swap out harmony's JVM implementation or pieces of it with external code.
   
   In general harmony will reuse or integrate with existing open source
   components whenever we can. Just about the only barrier that keeps us from
   such reuse or integration is the licensing one.


Q: does or will harmony code depend on "external component X"?

A: Quite often! For example, we're certainly not writing a C compiler or an
   implementation of make. Similarly, there's open source versions of a variety
   of tools that are part of the standard java tool suite already out there
   (like implementations of 'javadoc' or 'jar' or 'keytool').


Q: can I combine the harmony code with code licensed under the GPLv2?
   
A: we don't know. The ASF considers this issue in "legal limbo" and has no
   official statement on the matter other than that. See:
   
     http://www.apache.org/licenses/GPL-compatibility.html
   
   Note that the FSF answer currently (November 9, 2005) a solid "no". See
   
     http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/


Q: can I combine the harmony code with GNU Classpath?

A: we don't know. The GNU Classpath project makes an exception to the GPLv2 (See

    http://www.gnu.org/software/classpath/license.html

   ), but the ASF legal counsel is not confident that this exception fixes the
   problem described above.
   
   The developers of the GNU Classpath project don't know yet either.


Q: *sheesh*! So, bottom line it for me, can I use the harmony code for
   "intended use X"?

A: the answer is *probably* "yes", as long as your "intended use X" does not
   conflict with the restrictions in the Apache License (not a lot of those,
   trust us). It is never a "certain" yes and only a "probable" one, because
   whether you have a right to use any piece of software depends on factors
   outside our control.
   
   In particular, certain national or international laws regarding software
   patents may or may not apply and certain parties may or may not hold
   applicable software patents with regard to your itended use of harmony for
   which you then may need a patent license.
   
   The ASF currently does not have any knowledge of any such software patent.
   
   Note that currently there is no release of harmony source nor binaries
   available, so the above answer isn't quite valid just yet :-)
   
   Also note that similar concerns apply to every piece of technology, software
   or not, that you ever use. For example, someone might have a valid patent on
   the use of keyboards that they're going to start enforcing, so while you
   might be allowed to use the software, its going to be pretty darn painful
   to that using just your mouse!


Q: what about the universe and everything?

A: sorry, we lied. Go read the book instead.


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