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From Robert Burrell Donkin <>
Subject [licensing] Re: License implications of build-time or test-time dependencies?
Date Thu, 20 Oct 2011 13:43:34 GMT
On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 4:55 PM, Rob Weir <> wrote:
> Another question that has come up based on review of OpenOffice code.
> If a 3rd party module is used as part of the build or test automation,
> but is not part of our release, do we care about whether it is
> copyleft?  Or do we only care if the 3rd party modules is part of the
> release?

Rules about releases apply only to the artifacts themselves

A minority of build and testing tools have licensing impact, and care
needs to be taken about them. In particular, some tools produce output
which cannot be included within an Apache release.

> For example, our Windows builds use the Microsoft C/C++ compiler. It
> is not OSS at all.  But installing it is a pre-req to build on
> Windows.  But we don't include the compiler in our release.  I assume
> this is OK.


> On Linux we rely on available GNU/Linux build tools, almost all
> copyleft, but they are not part of the release.  So I assume it is OK.


> A trickier case: CppUnit.  This is not a standard platform module.  It
> is LGPL.  We use it as a framework for unit testing.  It is the C++
> equivalent of JUnit.  I think we should be shipping our unit tests
> with our source releases.  This is really useful for downstream
> consumers of the code to use when enhancing AOOo, to check for errors.
> If we don't include CppUnit in our releases, then a consumer of the
> source releases would need to download CppUnit separately as a
> pre-req.  So would we when building AOOo.

Downstream developers working from a "source release" would need to
download and install the package if they want to run unit tests. This
is the price they pay for their licensing convenience.

For the convenience of downstream consumers who want to build and test
for their own use, it would be possible to either
 * provide an additional build script in the source release that
downloads additional dependencies (though IMHO the user should be
informed by the script of the licenses for the artifacts downloaded),
 * provide a convenience artifact following the "binary release" rules
aimed at this group

> Are the considerations here, for build-time and test-time dependencies
> the same as for any other 3rd party modules in our release?

Have I covered this well enough above, or would it be helpful for me to expand?


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