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From "Geir Magnusson Jr." <g...@pobox.com>
Subject Re: [Fwd: Re: Interesting discoveries playing around with japitools]
Date Thu, 09 Nov 2006 20:55:04 GMT


Stuart Ballard wrote:
> Geir Magnusson Jr. wrote:
>> David Gilbert wrote:
>> > A boon?  Not at all, Classpath will be (mostly) redundant and will fade
>> > away, replaced by Sun's runtime.
>>
>> I'm not so convinced of that.  GNU Classpath is under GPL + Exception,
>> so arguably it's not viral to things that link with it.
> 
> I think it's highly unlikely Sun will release their VM without terms
> that enable proprietary code to be built on top of it. That'd be
> particularly counterproductive of them.
> 
> My speculation would be that they'll release it under two licenses,
> one similar to the terms they have now, and the GPL as the other. Code
> released under those terms is clearly not viral.

Yes, they will clearly do that - offer a license that allows proprietary 
implementation.  However, that license won't be free or open source.

> 
>> Also, I think the copyright assignment requirement will be a big deal.
> 
> If OpenOffice is anything to go by, Sun will require a copyright
> assignment to them; Classpath requires a copyright assignment to the
> FSF. Yes, that's a little bit different because a lot of developers
> will trust the FSF a lot more than they do Sun...

And Sun is a commercial entity, with a responsibility to it's 
shareholders, not to a non-profit charter.

> 
> I actually think it'd be really smart of Sun to not require a
> copyright assignment at all, but rather require contributing
> developers to license their code under *both* sets of terms just as
> Sun itself does. That would allow Sun to continue to use the dual
> licensing scheme without the stigma of the copyright assignment
> requirement. And it's very similar (in spirit, if not in details) to
> the model that Mozilla has used for years - originally to allow
> Netscape to make proprietary releases based on the contributed code.

Sure - but their second license won't be an open source one.

> 
> As far as the suggestion elsewhere in the thread (that I lost, digest
> mode subscription is painful ;) ) that the GNU people would feel it
> necessary to fork Sun's Java entirely to maintain their sense of
> freedom, I don't think this is so. The FSF have fairly strong
> philosophical disagreements with Linus but have never forked the
> kernel. They have philosophical disagreements with the ASF sometimes
> but there isn't a GNU fork of the Apache webserver. I think a GPL'd
> Java would be considered acceptable - because the license allows the
> *option* of a fork if Sun proves to be a sufficiently poor steward.
> But I've never heard of a project being "preemptively" forked on the
> offchance the maintainer will make unacceptable decisions in the
> future. At least I've never heard of such a fork having even the
> slightest success.

Sorry if you misunderstood me.  I didn't meant to suggest that they 
would - I was probably speculating that it was one possible solution - 
someone could fork the codebase if they wanted to avoid having to assign 
joint copyright.

> 
> A lot depends, of course, on how Sun actually engages the community -
> I'd say that's even more important than the license, as long as the
> license isn't *completely* un-work-withable.

yes - agreed

> 
>> Understood.  For me, an additional requirement is an open and level
>> community, where all participants are working together under exactly the
>> same terms. (Which is where GNU Classpath will be different than what I
>> understand the Sun model will be)
> 
> I don't consider it a foregone conclusion either way as to whether
> Classpath will or won't continue with any enthusiasm if Sun's
> implementation is released under an acceptable license and with an
> acceptable process for getting contributions back in. There's a lot of
> momentum behind Classpath right now but it might be hard to justify
> all the effort to get from (essentially) complete 1.4 and parts of
> 1.5, to parity with Sun's 6.
> 
> Either way we live in interesting times :) And either way Sun's
> release under *any* open source license is a very good thing.

Indeed!

geir

> 
> Stuart.

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