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From Leo Simons <leosim...@apache.org>
Subject Re: donation of project
Date Thu, 01 Jan 2004 19:28:01 GMT
Hi Matt,

(IANAL)

Matt Liotta wrote:

> Thanks for all the responses. At this point, I am reluctant to release 
> the code under an Apache style license without a community behind it. 
> I don't want to see our code go into some proprietary project and 
> never benefit the community because the actual open release was 
> handled incorrectly. Right now my thinking is that we will release the 
> code under the GPL and put it up on Sourceforge. The GPL will protect 
> the code from being used in proprietary projects for the short-term 
> while allowing an open source community to develop.

I appreciate your concerns, but I doubt the GPL is your answer. Besides
being incompatible (according to the FSF) with apache-style licenses (which
is a lot of the open source java code around), it isn't actually a 
guarantee a
community will be formed. Getting a community in place is not something
you can do by choice of license. Also consider that as long as modifications
are not redistributed at all, the license doesn't really get you anything.

That said, putting things in the open under GPL does allow interested peeps
to take a look and see what you got.

> Should such a community develop, I am very interested in relicensing 
> our work under the Apache license and donating it to the Apache 
> Foundation. 

There's a bit of a catch here. If a community develops, people will likely
submit patches, which will also be licensed under the GPL. Either you don't
incorporate those patches, or you get everyone to provide a license grant
(which can be quite difficult sometimes).

Also consider what happens if you donate the materials to apache right
away, and we create a new incubator project. That doesn't guarantee a
community being formed either. People can take the apache-licensed code
and use it commercially without contributing something back, just as could
happen with hosting materials at sourceforge.

Finally, consider what happens if someone submits a patch to your
GPL-ed code, and you incorporate the change back into one of your
commercial products. That *could* mean that *you* would then be in
violation, given that the GPL is pretty viral. You'd have to open source
your entire product. (to avoid the headache of ensuring this doesn't
happen, many companies that want some "GPL-style" virality choose
the LGPL instead).

> Any thoughts on the above? Again, I am most interested in seeing this 
> project under the Apache umbrella to ensure that the Java community 
> benefits, so any thoughts on best how to accomplish that in regard to 
> the above concern would be appreciated. 

These decisions are always quite difficult; there's no absolute 'right'
choice. Just keep in mind that having a project under the Apache
umbrella doesn't automatically "ensure that the java community
benefits". There simply are no certainties like that in open source.

hope this helps!

- LSD



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