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From Stefano Mazzocchi <stef...@apache.org>
Subject Re: The Unofficial "Harmony, Licensing, the Universe and everything" FAQ
Date Fri, 18 Nov 2005 15:03:04 GMT
Anthony Green wrote:
> On Fri, 2005-11-18 at 01:05 -0500, Davanum Srinivas wrote:
>> Anthony,
>> People who are willing to go the GPL route for their code have lots of
>> avenues as u know...
> (It's not the GPL, it's the GNU Classpath license!)
> The point of my request is to make sure contributors are informed.
> Of course, I'm working under the assumption that GNU Classpath is
> important to the Harmony project.  Perhaps it isn't.  But, if it is, I
> think it makes sense to inject some advertising for GNU Classpath into
> the Harmony contribution process, because that will be the most
> convenient time for people to consider and arrange for dual licensing.

There is a big problem in dual licensing: it asks for forks.

What would be the point of somebody donating a bunch of code to the ASF 
under a dual license that allowed Classpath to take it, modify it and 
those modifications not coming back?

The apache license *does* allow people to do exactly the above, it's 
part of the BSD philosophy of playing nice with the industrial ecosystem 
around you that GNU does not share (not a criticism, just a matter of fact).

So, the real problem is not Classpath getting the code that harmony 
produces and not give the patches back in a form we can digest, that we 
can totally live with.

What we wouldn't like is the fact that this code is supposed to be a 
seed for a community around it, community that values the apache 
licensing philosophy and plays fair with the Sun IP licensing restrictions.

If there wasn't a need for this, IBM would have donated his code to 
Classpath under their license in the first place.

The *IS* a reason why two projects exists, they serve different 
communities with different purposes. Asking the ASF to dual license with 
a license that is philosophically unacceptable is socially disruptive, 
as it would be for me to ask the Classpath people to start dual 
licensing just for sake of collaboration.

It ain't gonna happen, so let's not go there.

*but* dual licensing is not the only way we can collaborate. Here is my 

  1) the two projects need a middle ground, a philosophy-neutral 
licensed interface code that can be used by both and implemented by all 
the pieces of the puzzle. I would suggest something like 
http://www.openvm.org/ and an MIT license. Both projects can use it, 
both projects can implement it, both projects can decide to adhere to it 
for sake of immediate reusability *and* clear license virality isolation.

  2) the ASF needs to get its act together and make sure that the LGPL 
and the GNU Classpath license *AS IS* are acceptable for linkage and 
distribution from apache licensed projects. This is in the interest of 
the foundation. This is the current top priority of our VP of legal 
affairs (Cliff), who is now pending comments from Eben and Richard 
directly on a few of the last issues on the LGPL interpretation. I am 
personally confident that we will get at least the LGPL resolved by the 
end of the year. Once the LGPL issue is resolved, it would be a lot 
easier to solve the GNU Classpath license issue as well, as social 
friction would have been strongly reduced.

  3) the GNU Classpath project needs to understand whether they want to 
include apache licensed code or not. It's not just harmony: xerces, 
xalan, log4j, there is a lot of code that it could be just reused 
instead of being reinvented for sake of licensing issues. This would 
require a modification to the GNU Classpath license that makes the two 
licenses compatible, practically says that it allows the patent 
litigation clause present in the Apache license to apply to those 
distributed parts of the code. It would not change the social activity 
of the project, it would not force dual licensing, yet it would help 
classpath avoid to write a ton of code and would show a tangible sign of 
collaboration that is not socially disruptive on any of the two sides.

At the same time, if #3 is not considered viable because it's considered 
weakening the position with the enemy, I would understand. Very few 
people, on both sides, believe in the value of collaboration between two 
projects and would much rather spend time coding or attracting more 
contributors than weakening their philosophical positions.

And my personal history tells, in fact, that it's a lot easier to write 
some code than to change somebody's mind, so I'm not that obsessed with 
collaboration in terms of code sharing.

But I do think that the API interface middle ground would go a long way 
to allow easier connection of all the pieces together.

So, real question: how many people here would participate in such a VM 
API (can't call it *J*!) effort if it was hosted not by the ASF or by 
the FSF and licensed under a neutral MIT license?

Note, I also volunteer to host it.

Thoughts, comments?


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