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From Leo Simons <m...@leosimons.com>
Subject Re: The Unofficial "Harmony, Licensing, the Universe and everything" FAQ
Date Mon, 14 Nov 2005 10:35:13 GMT
On Sat, Nov 12, 2005 at 04:26:35PM +0100, Mark Wielaard wrote:
> On Wed, 2005-11-09 at 05:38 -0800, Leo Simons wrote:
> > I keep getting lost in the licensing discussions. I *think* the below accurately
> > represents where we are right now.
> 
> Thanks for writing this down. I'll try to clarify some things below. 

Actually, in most cases what you said is just raising more questions for me.

> There is one nitpick with the whole setup though. It really reads as if
> harmony is just an ordinary Apache project.

You really should stop whistling that theme. There is nothing ordinary
about Apache projects and there is no shame in being one. I have no idea
what kind of *action* should be taken to "reach out more" or "be open".
Please stop saying "be more open" without explaining how.

If you keep pointing at the ASF as an example of how things should not
work and then want to differentiate from that, that's going to become a
problem. The attitude needs to be that the ASF is an example of how things
could work and that we work as part of the ASF to change the bits that need
some changing.

> Presenting harmony as just an Apache project doesn't do justice to it.

Please. *Stop saying that*. If harmony becomes half as successful as
Apache HTTPD or integrates with half as much external codebases as Apache
Cocoon or runs on half as many platforms as Apache STDCXX then we'd be
doing real well and we'd still be "just an Apache project".

Apache projects are all about open collaboration and producing cool software
and lots of people working together and working with other open source
projects and all of that. Apache projects use hundreds of open source projects
that are not developed at apache (even non-open source ones every now and then),
and hundreds of open source projects that are not developed at apache use stuff
which is developed at apache.

We're going to do just that.

Analogy. The GNU Classpath community is an important integration point for all
the JVM developers that integrate with classpath. GNU Classpath works closely
with other projects within the GNU ecosystem (like GCJ) and outside it (like,
Jikes or, hehe, Harmony). Despite its very high open source coolness it is
still "just" a GNU project. I hope  Classpath is proud to carry the "GNU"
prefix. It'd be kind of weird to say it should try to become anything "more"
than that. "Just as cool" as, I  dunno, GCC, or GNU Emacs, should be plenty.

> > Q: under what license is the harmony code?
> > 
> s/seperately/separately/g
> And add: "We do ask that all contributions are also available under
> terms that allow integration into larger works distributed under other
> Free Software licenses such as the (L)GPL to make sure the contribution
> can be shared by the whole community".

Well, we're not asking that right now because we're not sure what it means or
what the consequences would be. Someone needs to look into all the nitty gritty
legal details surrounding this  stuff and what kind of process there should be
etc etc.

Not me, I prefer to be purely reactive when it comes to legal stuff. Easier.
Besides I don't understand it.

> > 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.
> 
> If there is a timetable for this effort then it would be good to mention
> this. I understood it will be discussed during the next ApacheCon.

Haven't heard about it for a while. Timetables and volunteers never go well
together, I'm afraid! I know there almost was an ASF board resolution on it
a while ago. I think its still on the agenda every meeting.

> > 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.
> 
> Right, I think it is good to emphasize that part. Also again it would be
> good to have a timetable associated with this. I know the ASF board has
> been asked to review and give specific feedback on this, but I haven't
> heard anything on the progress.

Huh? The ASF board tends to delegate legal stuff to legal people. I suspect
the ball is either at the FSF or with legal-discuss@ or with Cliff. In any case,
I doubt there's a timetable.

> > 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').
> 
> There is a list of such tools in one of my previous emails. Might be
> good to reference or include them here:
> http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.java.harmony.devel/2269
> http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.java.harmony.devel/2334

Hmm. I would prefer to keep that kind of info somewhere where people will actually
read it (like on the wiki! Put it on the wiki!) instead of inside legal docs that
hopefully are boringly ignorable.

> > 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/
> 
> It would be good to know any progress or primary contacts for solving
> this "legal limbo". I know FSF legal has offered a couple of suggestions
> to make the ASLv2 unambiguously GPLv2 compatible, but again I don't know
> who is tracking that issue or what the current status is.

Me neither. *LSD points at legal-discuss*.

> > 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.
> 
> Do you have a pointer to specific issues that ASF legal counsel has with
> respect to the exception text?

Nope! I did save an email from Roy Fielding where he raises about a dozen. I
think you got that too. I think one of the people from the FSF crew just totally
disagreed and nothing else happened after that. But I don't want to publish stuff
from a private conversation out here.

LSD


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