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From Aaron Mulder <>
Subject Re: jboss on tomcat update
Date Tue, 31 Oct 2000 00:16:13 GMT
	For what it's worth...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000 19:03:39 -0500
From: Free Software Foundation <>
To: Aaron Mulder <>
Subject: Re: Java, GPL, & APL

Aaron Mulder wrote:

>       Okay, I've heard too many opinions on the GPL, so I'm taking it to 
> the source.  I will discuss this in general terms if it's OK with you.
>       There exist two open-source products.  One uses an Apache license.
> One uses a GPL license.  They are complimentary products - the capabilites
> of both together are greater than that of either alone.  They can be run
> totally independently, communicating over the network, but the performance
> is not great.  They can also be run together, in the same Java VM, and the
> performance is much better.  The GPL product has included some code that
> configures and launches the APL product.  It directly references Java  
> classes (such as the startup class) that are part of the APL product.
> This is what allows you to run them together within one VM.  The APL   
> product does not ever reference the GPL code directly - only through the
> standard interfaces defined by Sun in one of the javax.* packages.  After
> the startup sequence, the GPL product never refers to the APL code
> directly at all (essentially, the APL product is a client of the GPL
> product).
>       So the questions are:
> 1) Is it legal for the APL product to work with the GPL product through
> the standard interfaces defined by Sun in the javax.* packages?  We
> suspect yes, since this is a standard and the APL program never reaches
> "through" those standard interfaces to deal directly with the GPL code.

It appears that you combine the APL'ed software with the GPL'ed software to
form a larger program.  This is not permitted, since the APL is incompatible
with the GPL.
> 2) Is it legal for the GPL product to directly reference APL classes to
> configure and start the APL product?

No, that is not legal, because you are combining the two programs to form a
larger program.

> 2b) If there is a problem with this, is there any way to configure and
> start the two products in the same VM?

Not if they make calls to each other.  You'll need to get the license of one
or the other changed to a dual license---the disjunction of the GPL and the

> 3) Would it be appropriate to package the GPL product and "glue
> code" (startup and configuration for APL product) together, and leave the
> APL product separate?

We believe this is legally the same as distributing them together, and thus,
is not permitted.

> 4) Would it be legal to package everything together, and create one
> combined download that "out-of-the-box" runs both products together?  This
> is the subject of much debate.

That is not permitted since the APL is incompatible with the GPL.

> 	So it's not clear whether the phrase "contains or is derived
> from" would apply to this single unified package.  

We argue that it definitely does, when you combine them together to form a
larger program.

Bradley M. Kuhn
Free Software Foundation     |  Phone: +1-617-542-5942
59 Temple Place, Suite 330   |  Fax:   +1-617-542-2652
Boston, MA 02111-1307  USA   |  Web:

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