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From "Antonio Gallardo" <anto...@apache.org>
Subject RE: Apache should join the open source java discussion
Date Fri, 19 Mar 2004 03:44:17 GMT
Noel J. Bergman dijo:
>> even the 1st releaser cannot distribute the code. If you
>> read the next sentence of the part you posted
>
> Possibly true. Either way, the patent prevents distribution by anyone else
> under the GPL. It may or may not impact the patent holder.

Thanks to the word "indirectly", the patent holder is impacted too. In the
preamble of the GPL we read:

<snip from preamble of GPL>
For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or
for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have. You
must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you
must show them these terms so they know their rights.
</snip from preamble of GPL>

There is: "You must give the recipients all the right that you have."

This include the right to distribute the software. If I cannot give them
this right, then I broke the GPL. Don't think many lawyers are not studing
this license to find a hole. Technically, is imposible to steal the
software or make limited distributions. AFAIK, this is one of the points
where GNU people are very carefully and put there many efforts.

In short this is why often the GPL is called a viral license. Because
automatically "infect" any code you add in the software under a GPL. You
have no chance to make it diferent. It is one of the reasons why the GPL
cannot be used in any Apache project.

> Getting back to the original point, there is nothing in the GPL that
> prevents forking.  It just means that others should have access to the
> code that you used in the fork.

I agree. But the point is not against the fork. The comment is against any
potential (read: intentional and forced) fork that target to harm the Java
platform. Why? Since the old Cesar's days, we know the old phrase: Divide
and conquer.

ie: MS can see the forking as a way to break the Java platform. They
already tried to make it some years ago and failed. But make some harm.
Even Sun sued them for this.

The scenario is not easy:

If Java is divided, we lose.
If Java stay under Sun, we can lose too.

The GNU people don't like KDE and prefer GNOME (even when some of them
accept KDE is better). Why? because there is a potential harm with the Qt
library. At any time the owner of the Qt lib can said: "OK, guys, thanks
for the effort and thanks for help us to distribute our Qt lib around the
world, but now we want to make big bucks. From now, we will ask a fee for
our lib". The overall work of the project will be throw away the day this
will happen.

Sound this as a crazy idea? I don't think so. See the .GIF and .MP3
lessons and we are home. In both cases the owners first said: "Hi, here is
these stuff, you can use it, is free." Later they changed the rules when
both formats were an standard in the world. I think we cannot just stay
and pray this kind of things can happen again.

By doing a potential Java forking, MS can take advantage and make C# win.
But, if Java is licensed under GPL it will be hard to make an intentional
fork at all.

My ideas are posted in my too primitive english. I hope the point is clear
now.

Also, note I am with us. I am just trying to make clear many point touched
in many places but never got released an specific politic about it.

But, back to the original point:

What to do in the case that Java goes GPL from the ASF point of view?
AFAIK, the GPL is viral and not compatible with the AL. Even (because of
the special case of Java code) the LGPL cannot be use in any ASF project.
Then what?

Best Regards,

Antonio Gallardo


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