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From "Geir Magnusson Jr." <ge...@apache.org>
Subject Re: ASF has been shipping GPL exception stuff for years and still is ;)
Date Mon, 05 Dec 2005 13:41:10 GMT

On Dec 4, 2005, at 11:59 PM, Dalibor Topic wrote:


> On Sun, Dec 04, 2005 at 02:13:30PM -0500, Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>> On Dec 4, 2005, at 12:38 PM, Anthony Green wrote:
>>> Whether or not you make a distinction between this kind of GPL
>>> +exception
>>> usage and libstdc++ or GNU Classpath usage hardly matters, since the
>>> licenses themselves don't make a distinction.
>> That would only be true if there is a standard interface / component
>> model for the classlibrary so that there can be competing
>> implementations and users have the ability to switch from one
>> implementation to another without significant burden in the event
>> they wish to make changes, additions or enhancements, and have the
>> freedom to choose what they do with their work.
>> That's why I think that the our componentization efforts are so
>> important.
> You seem to have narrowly missed what Anthony said, and went on
> a defensive tangent instead ;)
> You don't have to defend the usage of GPL+linking
> exception licensed code by the Apache Software Foundation, all of us
> non-Luddites here agree that the GPL+linking exception works as it
> should and the binaries shipped by the ASF are fine.
> This stuff is easy, and pretty obvious to anyone with a dissasembler,
> and/or insight about C compilers, so let's have the same rules that
> allow httpd to ship their binaries using/incorporating
> GPL+linking exception licensed code, ASF's flagship product, after
> all, be officially ratified, as they'd allow us to do the same.
> Is there something left that would speak against using GNU Classpath
> in Harmony, after we have established as a fact that the ASF is indeed
> happily distributing code using code under the same sort of licenses
> and has been doing so for years?

You are missing my point completely.  This isn't about illegality as  
in "We are going to get sued" or "the police are going to come" but  
about the rights, freedoms and expectations of our end users.

When you get the httpd binary, you just use it.  You run it.  The  
fact that there's GPL-ed code in there is *utterly irrelevant*  
because there is no hard source dependency to which you as the user  
are somehow bound.  By "bound", I mean have to have it's license  
effect you if you make some modification to httpd.    So in this  
sense, yes, it's like the OS.

When you work with the source of httpd, the creative work we are  
licensing to to the user for them to do with as they may, then  
*poof*! the GPL+Exception code simply disappears - it's not an issue  
for the user to deal with because it was only added as a harmless  
side effect of using one specific tool.  It's not much different than  
having proprietary code from a commercial installer being part of an  
Apache Licensed distro - not illegal, and nothing the user has to  
deal with when considering a modified or derivative work.

This is much different than having an explicit hard dependency on a  
GPL+Exception codebase here, if our VMs would have

import org.gnu.classpath.Foo

or whatever.

I admire (or would if I had some sleep) your zeal in trying to use  
this as an example to solve the problem, but I think you're tilting  
at the wrong windmill here.

Either way, can we agree that we've made the Harmony community aware  
of this, and bring over to the ASF legal discussion lists rather than  


Geir Magnusson Jr                                  +1-203-665-6437

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