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From Simon Kitching <skitch...@apache.org>
Subject Licence required in javadoc output?
Date Wed, 19 Jan 2005 01:24:58 GMT
Hi,

At jakarta commons we have a question about "javadoc" and licenses.

In order to generate documentation about the programming interface
provided by a java library, specially-formatted comments are placed in
source code files. Additional html files providing "overview"
information are also used. The "javadoc" application is then run against
these files to generate a set of HTML pages that can be viewed in a
browser. Here's an example:

http://jakarta.apache.org/commons/digester/commons-digester-1.6/docs/api/index.html

The question we have is how much "license" text such generated pages
need to have.

Some subprojects of jakarta-commons simply have this footer in each
page:
  Copyright (c) 2001-2004 - Apache Software Foundation

The commons-digester and commons-logging subprojects currently go a bit
further, by also having the following text present in each HTML file
(and therefore in each HTML page). This text is not visible when using a
web browser, but is visible if "view source" is used for the page, or if
the webpage is downloaded and viewed in a text editor:

 <!--     Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the
"License");    you may not use this file except in compliance with the
License.    You may obtain a copy of the License at
http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0     Unless required by
applicable law or agreed to in writing, software    distributed under
the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,    WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR
CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.    See the License
for the specific language governing permissions and    limitations under
the License.                  -->

You can see this in the digester javadoc (the link above) by
right-clicking in the main frame and selecting "This frame|view frame
source" in Mozilla.

The issues are:
1. There is a cross-platform issue with the "javadoc" tool that
generates the output. The command that generates the correct output on
Linux won't work on MS-Windows. The variant that works on Windows leaves
extra "\" characters present in the output when the command is run under
Linux/Mac. It is possible to set up separate commands for windows/linux,
but that makes the build configuration file a bit messy/overcomplicated.

2. Each generated page is larger due to the extended license text.


So, given that:
* Javadoc is not useful as a "stand-alone" product; 
* Javadoc is generated from source files which *do* have complete
license text within them; and
* the output documents an API, with APIs not being copyrightable
is the extra text needed in each generated page, or is the simpler
statement:
  Copyright (c) 2001-2004 - Apache Software Foundation
sufficient?


Thanks in advance,

Simon


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