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From Jeffrey Thompson <jt...@us.ibm.com>
Subject Re: Apache's LGPL Policy
Date Wed, 10 Aug 2005 13:59:00 GMT
Cliff Schmidt <cliffs@apache.org> wrote on 08/09/2005 09:52:46 PM:
> Does my explanation above help at all?  I believe the FSF has clearly 
> stated that their interpretation of the LGPL does not restrict the 
> licensing of Java software that simply links to LGPL libraries.  Even 
> if they have ever called such linking derivative, they are not trying 
> to impose restrictions on such works using the LGPL.
> Cliff

Not really, but it probably isn't that critical.  The issue would arise 
when the owner of the LGPL code disagrees with the FSF's position on what 
that license means and tries to exert some sort of control over the Apache 
project.  He'd have to say that the definition of "work that uses the 
library" means exactly what it says . . . that is, the work MUST NOT BE A 
DERIVATIVE as a precondition.  The discussion later that "even if it is a 
derivative, we're not going to treat it as one" was just belts and 
suspenders and should be ignored.  Therefore, since the Apache code was 
designed to interface with his code, then its a derivative and must be 
covered by section 4. 

I would be really surprised if a court bought that argument.  And even if 
it did, I'm not certain what that person would gain.

In the end, I don't see a LGPL licensing problem.  However, I'm still 
confused about the policy question.  When I asked before, I got the 
distinct impression that the list (or at least those actively posting) had 
concerns on what this would mean for Apache and what rights licensees 
would get.

If Apache ends up with a project that requires that licensees go download 
and incorporate LGPL code, doesn't that in effect restrict what can be 
done with that project to the lowest common denominator.  The licensee 
wouldn't be able to do anything with the project that wouldn't be 
permissible to do to an LGPL project.  For example, the licensee certainly 
wouldn't be able to redistribute a binary of the project in a commercial 
product under a commercial license.  Is that really OK?

Are we distinguishing between LGPL code that we expect that most systems 
would have already (like glibc) from LGPL code that would have to be 
distributed with the project if you wanted to distribute a complete 


Staff Counsel, IBM Corporation  (914)766-1757  (tie)8-826  (fax) -8160
(notes) jthom@ibmus  (internet) jthom@us.ibm.com (home) jeff@beff.net
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