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From Mark Wielaard <m...@klomp.org>
Subject Re: [Licensing/Community] Fresh start
Date Mon, 05 Dec 2005 14:28:10 GMT
Hi Davanum,

On Sun, 2005-12-04 at 13:50 -0500, Davanum Srinivas wrote:
> Just remember, it has to go both ways :) Apache code in classpath and
> classpath code in Harmony. We can't just push things so that it is a
> one way street. So far what i have not heard is how/what can be done
> to enable Classpath to use the tons of jakarta code and other Apache
> code.
>
> How about a plan of attack? Anthony, Dalibor and Mark can try hard to
> lobby FSF's GPL v3 effort to be as compatible as possible with ASL
> 2.0? In the mean while, we can take up Stefano's offer of working on a
> VM interface. If we get thru in one piece till GPL v3 gets out, then
> we can investigate if Classpath can switch to use Xerces/Xalan etc
> from Apache. In the parallel, let's see how LGPL bridge policy works
> in the real world usage (once Apache-Legal formulates it and announces
> it). At that point we can eval options on both sides and see how best
> to go forward.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious. I have been reading a lot, but not
really found I way to make sense of where/why we aren't working more
together as a team :{ I changed the subject a little because I believe
this is not just some "legal/licensing" thing. It feels much more like a
community thing. Somehow we seem to mistrust each other. And I don't
really know how that happened. Ever since I became maintainer of GNU
Classpath I have worked hard to enlarge the community and work together
by cooperating with as many existing communities as possible. That was
also my intention when I joined the Harmony initiative. But instead of
having created a larger community we seem to have created communities
that are unsure of the goals of the other. While at the same time we do
seem to have the same goal, but we are not acting like we are.

I think we should split up the "legal/community" issues into the
following "subprojects" (I already tried to discuss this in private with
some people to get a better understanding, but maybe it is better to
throw this out into the group). Each of these points is not just a
"licensing" issue, but also a "community" issue since I feel that we can
only solve it if we understand why the different communities feel these
things are important. I have tried to explain it from "my side" a bit
below. Input on other viewpoints are very welcome.

- Understanding the acceptable dependencies of code distributed under
various licenses for the various groups. For GNU projects and most other
Free Software projects I know it is mostly anything goes as long as it
is upwards compatible with the GPL (with a preference on the FSF to have
a clear legal trail and possible copyright assignment). [Unfortunately
this doesn't include the ASL which is one of the main sticking points.
And why various people have asked the key contributors to make sure
their contributions are (also) available under GPL-compatible terms.
Geir has been talking to IBM about this.] The precise "rules" for the
ASF seem still under heavy discussion. Maybe this will be discussed more
at the ApacheCon next week.

- Starting from the understanding of the point above it would be good to
get a clear view of how the LGPL fits into that. It looks like many
Apache projects would like to build upon existing LGPL code bases, but
are not sure what the requirements are. I know we talked a lot about
this before, but I am not clear where we stand, or which uncertainties
still seem to exist. This is probably not possible to do before the
previous item is clearly understood. But if it is resolved and
acceptable to the apache community then we can certainly look into
making sure GNU Classpath code is also available under the LGPL, but see
next point.

- The FSF has been using exceptions for runtime libraries for
GCC, like the one for GNU Classpath, to the GPL. The intent was to have
a more easy to understand license for these kind of runtime libraries
which is similar in spirit to the LGPL, but with a couple of freedoms
removed (especially the relinking/shared library requirement for the end
user). But it seems this exception is even less well understood then the
LGPL even though people seem to have been using such runtime libraries
for a very years through GCC. We can have a long debate about the
precise legal wording, but it is unclear why there is so much
confusion/distrust about the intent in some groups. Long time GCC users
and distributors don't seem to have any doubts about it as far as I can
see. When the LGPL issue is resolved it will probably be easy to solve
this one also.

- In the long run it would be good to get the ASL and GPL compatible
through the GPLv3 process. This does not help us in the short term
though (release date 2007). I talked to various FSF people, including
Richard Stallman, and the goal clearly is to get them compatible through
the process (even if it is too early to tell whether or not that can
happen as is, or whether there are also small changes needed to the
ASL). Richard asked me to make sure the people were aware of that and
participate in this process. http://gplv3.fsf.org/

- Seeing that the GPLv3 process will take more than a year, is there any
way to create temporary bridges between code bases distributed under the
various licenses? Some clear wording to unambiguously make ASLv2 and
GPLv2 code mixable would be nice. I have no idea if that is possible. It
was clearly the intent of the ASLv2 to make this possible, but I don't
know if there is any simple clarification to make this also legally so.

What do people think of the above? Are these the things that are truly
blocking participation between the groups? They feel a bit too
legal-mumble-jumbo to me, but I don't know how to reword them more as
community participation issues.

Cheers,

Mark

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