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From Marvin Humphrey <mar...@rectangular.com>
Subject Re: [VOTE] Release Apache Ignite (Incubating) 1.0-RC3
Date Mon, 23 Mar 2015 00:06:34 GMT
On Sat, Mar 21, 2015 at 10:01 PM, Branko ─îibej <brane@apache.org> wrote:

> http://www.apache.org/legal/resolved.html says, on the topic of GPL and
> similar:
>
>     Apache projects cannot distribute any such components. However, if
>     the component is only needed for optional features, a project can
>     provide the user with instructions on how to obtain and install the
>     non-included work. Optional means that the component is not required
>     for standard use of the product or for the product to achieve a
>     desirable level of quality.
>
> Given the above, why are we still discussing this?

After further research, here's where I stand:

*   I'm not going to vote on Ignite's release candidates based on this issue.
*   I agree that that passage appears to grant permission for Apache products
    to offer non-core features implemented against GPL-only interfaces.
*   I question whether that interpretation was intended.  LGPL libraries
    yes, GPL libraries no.  (FWIW, we haven't even confirmed that Ignite
    implements against any GPL-only interfaces.)

LEGAL-54, the issue where that language was formulated, discusses LGPL
libraries and GPL build tools, but not GPL libraries.

    https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LEGAL-54

See also this message from Sam Ruby (Legal VP at the time) which
differentiates between LGPL and GPL libraries:

    http://markmail.org/message/r4wbsivdlvwtoc5u

Another issue discusses "optional" components including GPL libraries behind a
generic interface:

    https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LEGAL-63

> When Subversion was incubating, 5 or so years ago, we went through the
> same discussion regarding our dependency on Neon, even though it was
> optional and Subversion works fine without any DAV plugin at all.
> Subversion graduated while still having this (optional) dependency.

All the discussion that I was able to find (the most important stuff was on
private lists over a decade ago) talks about Neon as *LGPL*.

> If you want to question Ignite's optional dependency on GPL code, you
> should start by changing the published policy and making all TLPs throw
> out such dependencies.
>
> Not gonna happen, right?

I'm not going to go to the wall over this; I'm content to raise the point so
that an interpretation I think may be faulty does not establish unchallenged
precedent.  The risks are low, I'm not an lawyer, and the case law on whether
API usage even creates a derivative work is in flux -- see Google vs. Oracle
and appeals.

Please carry on.

Marvin Humphrey

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