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From Greg Stein <>
Subject Re: License Help!?!
Date Sun, 07 May 2000 07:34:07 GMT
On Sat, 6 May 2000, William A. Rowe, Jr. wrote:
> Ok, I understand the concept of license polution.
> But would someone offer me a few of the terms of the GPL and the 
> GNU GPL/GNU LIBRARY GPL that are offensive to the Apache endeavor?

Warning! Warning! Religious battles approach!


Boy, is that a question to ask. And to use the word "offensive" is truly
guaranteed to start some flames... hehe...

I think the *basic* difference between the Apache license and the GPL,
which seems to matter most to people:

*) The ASF license places *very* few restrictions on the use and
   redistribution of the code, changes made to the code, or packages /
   products made from it.

*) GPL requires that all (re)distribution of the code, changes to it, or
   packages/products made from it MUST ship with the source code. And the
   kicker: the source code for any changes OR anything _linked_ in with
   the product must be distributed, too.

The GPL source code redistribution would prevent a number of
Apache-derived products from being built and sold by companies. For
example, the IBM HTTP Server would not exist if Apache was GPL'd. As a
result, all of the excellent work done by IBM for the Apache project would
not have existed. In a similar vein, Covalent's entire business is built
around Apache and its success. There are about a half-dozen Covalent
employees that are contributing their time to the Apache effort; that
wouldn't be possible with the GPL. Mac OS X Server probably could not have
used Apache if it was GPL'd.

All that said, it is also important to recognize that this is not a
unanimous position. There are some people who don't want companies to use
the code so freely, and want them to be required to give their proprietary
changes back (which the GPL would do). This might mean that Apache
wouldn't be as popular (since some companies would not base their strategy
around it if they could not retain proprietary changes), but that is quite
fine for some.

There are patent issues related to the GPL, but I think those problems are
more "structural" rather than "philosophical." To me, I think the
use/redistribution thing is the real basis for the ASF.

Regarding the LGPL, I'm not quite sure what the issues are for the ASF. It
seems the patent issue is probably the driving factor, but the derived
product issue is still there.


Greg Stein,

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