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From Robert Burrell Donkin <>
Subject Re: Category B licenses
Date Tue, 28 Jun 2011 21:24:07 GMT
On Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 9:10 PM, Michael Stahl <> wrote:

> one thing that is currently unclear to me is whether/how Apache OOo may
> depend on code licensed under a Category B license.
> the most prominent specimen of this category is the MPL.

(Apache is mailing-list centric and legal-discuss [1] is where good
answers to questions on this topic are to be found but I'll do my
best. It's also where discussions and decisions about refining policy


> while ApacheOOo can never ship Category X libraries, for Category B there is
> this:
> "Software under the following licenses may be included in binary form within
> an Apache product if the inclusion is appropriately labeled:
> [...]
> By including only the object/binary form, there is less exposed surface area
> of the third-party work from which a work might be derived; this addresses
> the second guiding principle of this policy. By attaching a prominent label
> to the distribution and requiring an explicit action by the user to get the
> reciprocally-licensed source, users are less likely to be unaware of
> restrictions significantly different from those of the Apache License.
> Please include the URL to the product's homepage in the prominent label."
> now, some questions:
> the sentence on "including only the object/binary form" i don't understand
> at all.
> if we ship a binary installation set, then of course it doesn't include the
> source code for anything (except perhaps Python/BASIC code...).
> so i guess this refers to a source code release.

Conventionally at Apache, the "source release" is canonical and is
identical to the tagged source in version control. The downstream
ecosystem typically consumes this source and produces installations. A
"binary release" is a (typically compressed) aggregation derived from
the source by some build process and shipped as a convenience for end

> but that doesn't make much sense either: what exactly is gained by putting
> binary libraries for a bunch of platforms into a source tarball?
> _which_ platforms? all of them? that's going to be huge...
> is this sentence perhaps intended specifically for Java libraries?

Not specifically but dynamic and bytecode languages are more likely to
want to ship this sort of thing

> secondly, "requiring an explicit action to get the reciprocally-licensed
> source", does our existing script qualify?

Running a script sounds like an explicit action to me but it's best to
open an issue so the documentation can be updated [2]. I'm running out
of my (limited) computer time for today, so hopefully someone will
beat me to it and jump in with the number


> basically, how can we build an ApacheOOo binary release that includes
> Category B licensed libraries?

Am I right in assuming that we're talking about shipping something
that can be used to install ApacheOOo?



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