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From Ralph Goers <Ralph.Go...@dslextreme.com>
Subject Re: jcp-open Digest of: get.703_703
Date Wed, 04 Jul 2007 20:15:44 GMT


William A. Rowe, Jr. wrote:
> Ralph Goers wrote:
>   
>>>   
>>>       
>> I think I might take a different approach to this problem. I would
>> suggest that the only way to really solve this is to modify the Apache
>> license in a manner similar to the GPL. I would do something like add a
>> new termination section such as below. This license would terminate
>> Sun's right to use any Apache software.
>>
>> 10. Termination - Your rights under this license will automatically
>> terminate should you own or control any specification, process or other
>> kind of work which is made publicly available under any public license,
>> but which the Apache Software Foundation is prohibited from implementing
>> due to license, patent, or other restrictions that are incompatible with
>> this license and are directly under your control.
>>     
>
> Unfortunately, this is a clause better left to the likes of the FSF.  We are
> not fanatics, and don't care to be cast as such.
>
> This clause is so broad as to make most education institutions walk straight
> away from such an AL agreement.  We are already walking a fine line with the
> exisitng patent reciprocity clauses of AL that is hard for them to reparse
> in the distributed-IP environment of a university.
>
> What is to 'own or control' .. v. .. 'directly under your control', and
> even v. 'public license' - these are all fuzzy areas that would make it
> painful for many users/developers, yet fairly trivial to sidestep :-/
>   
Hey, it is just wording that lawyer's can fix. It was meant to spawn 
ideas, not as a final draft.
> The AL is powerful because of 1. the amount of code available for people
> (especially developers) to use, and 2. minimal restrictions necessary to
> protect the developers of that code.  If it's watered down with additional
> cruft, it loses it's validity.  This is one of the major obstacles for the
> GPLv3 itself, to overcome the simplicity of the GPLv2 in the minds of
> users of the GPL.
>   
Actually, I disagree with your observations about the GPL. I think many 
folks are comfortable using it in many situations, and many GPL projects 
are doing quite well. Secondly, while I agree with your observations 
that the amount of code available at Apache, and its quality, I don't 
agree that the current license makes it "powerful", although it is what 
makes it popular and highly used.  In fact, by design the current 
license effectively gives away any power the licensor may have.

My feeling is that if the ASF wants to have any leverage than the only 
effective way it can do that is through the license. I am not saying it 
needs to be as "heavy" as the GPL, but just something that keeps people 
honest. Something that says if you are going to call it open than it has 
to be open enough that the ASF can implement it. If you don't want to do 
that then don't make the spec public and don't call it open, and then 
you won't be violating our license.

The idea of abandoning the JCP seems a lot like saying "we are taking 
our toys and going home".  If that means the other kids won't have toys 
to play with it might mean something, but if they already have a pretty 
full toy box and some other friends to play with they aren't going to 
care much.

Ralph

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