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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: Question related derivative code based on our Apache licensed code
Date Wed, 04 Jan 2012 13:13:13 GMT
2012/1/4 J├╝rgen Schmidt <>:

> In detail if a derivative project merge our now Apache licensed > code with
> their code that was based on the former Oracle licensed LGPL code. This code
> becomes automatically Apache licensed, correct?

[Of course IANAL so be careful with my responses, I believe them to be
correct, legal-discuss@ will provide clarification if anyone contests
my opinion. Also discussing legal issues like this is difficult
without specific cases to examine. If you do need further
clarification it is better to have concrete examples - legal-discuss@
refuse to discuss hypotheticals and inside on actual cases.]

No. The Apache License has no "viral" element to it and the LGPL has
no provision for relicensing. Each part of the code remains under the
original licence.

> If yes, does it mean that we can use the changes on this code
> in our code as
> well if it is publicly available?

The answer to the first question is no, but this question is still
relevant. Modifications to the LGPL code, if distributed along with
that code must be LGPL. However, as copyright owner the person making
the modifications could make their modifications available on whatever
license they want as long as it is distributed separately from the
original LGPL code.

In other words, if someone task class Foo under Oracles LGPL and
modifies it they can choose to provide the patch against the AOO class
Foo under an Apache license.

> Ok the license say that it is possible to put an additional license > on all
> changes made on the code when you mark all changes in an
> appropriate way.
> How is that possible or done in practize with many minor
> changes (e.g.
> improve the performance of an existing loop, or initialize
> existing
> variables etc.)?

Will difficulty. One practice I have seen is to indicate "portions (c)
Foo Bar" and then maintain a patch file against the original code to
identify those portions.

> And which license is valid if a trivial change is
> made in
> our (the original) source in the same way, e.g. initialize a local
> variable
> to prevent a warning?

If the change is made against LGPL and distributed then it is LGPL,
there is no choice. If the change is against the Apache licence then
the copyright holder gets to choose. But see my note above that even
under LGPL the copyright holder can donate a patch to the ASF under an
Apache License if they choose.

It is only if the code is distributed alongside the original LGPL code
that the "viral" nature of the LGPL becomes important.


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