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From "William A. Rowe, Jr." <wr...@rowe-clan.net>
Subject Re: GPL3 and AL2 compatability
Date Fri, 30 Mar 2007 11:59:48 GMT
Ross Gardler wrote:
> So, the GPL3 will not be compatible with the AL2 after all. This is a
> real shame.

I wouldn't quantify it.  This issue only affects redistributors, not
users.  A Combined Work can only be licensed under the GPL, ergo it's
most likely the ASF couldn't care less.  However, their logic may be
quite faulty...

> The problem is described in [1] as:
> 
> --- END copied text --
> 
> 4.4 Statement on Apache License Compatibility
> We regret that we will not achieve compatibility of the Apache License,
> Version 2.0, with GPLv3, despite what we had previously promised.
> Our consideration of Apache/GPL license compatibility has focused on
> the patent termination clause in the Apache license. As we explained above
> in § 4.1, this clause is compatible with Draft 3 because it is not a
> “further restriction.”
> However, we overlooked another provision in the current Apache
> license that, on its face, is incompatible with the GPL. Under section 9
> of the Apache license, downstream redistributors must agree to indemnify
> upstream licensors under certain conditions.27
> Although we have studied section 9 of the Apache license at some length,
> we fail to understand its precise purpose or effect. On one interpretation,
> the indemnification clause should never have any consequence, since, one
> might argue, the liability incurred by an upstream licensor “by reason of” a
> downstream redistributor’s acceptance of warranty or liability ought always
> to be zero. However, we think this cannot have been the intent of the
> drafters of the Apache license. Terms in free software licenses must be
> assumed to have real meaning. Because the GPL gives redistributors an
> unconditional right to offer warranty protection,28 and because the terms of
> the Apache license appear to survive incorporation of Apache-covered code
> into a GPL-covered work, section 9 of the Apache license would give rise to
> an impermissible further restriction on GPL rights.
> We apologize to the Apache community for having previously overlooked
> the significance of this issue. We look forward to further discussions with
> the Apache Foundation in the hope of achieving compatibility in the future.
> 
> --- END copied text --

That may be blowing smoke if you closely study the following GPLv3 draft3
clause...

  Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, you may
  supplement the terms of this License with terms effective under,
  or drafted for compatibility with, local law:

    a. disclaiming warranty or limiting liability differently from the
    terms of section 15 of this License;

Since our terms expressly disclaim warrenty of upstream authors should
a distributor add a warrenty, and the indemnification clause explicitly
limits the liability of those upstream authors, there's quite probably
no conflict whatsoever.

Only a downstream distributor who offers a warrenty is affected by the
ASL terms that the GPL finds offensive, and that is the very agent who
later reinvoked the second revision under clause a. (the first being
the ASL that the author who combined the ASL piece into a GPL work.)

> So, what is our position on this?

You can likely look forward to some position and statement from the
legal committee sometime in the coming months.  You expect the ASF
to have a reaction two days after this announcement?  :)

> Can we work with the FSF with respect to section 9 of the AL2?

Howso?  By lessening the protection we afford to upstream contributors
by the act of a downstream contributor offering a warranty where there
was none?  How does that serve the ASF's interest in protecting the
developers of ASL licensed software?

The probability of the ASL changing the patent or warranty terms is,
I suspect, quite low.

> (Yes I know people here have been working hard in the consultation
> process to try and ensure compatibility. I'm trying to avoid the
> politics and look at how we might make the licences compatible)

You may be overstating things.  Certainly both parties considered these
issues, but each is only looking out for their perception of their own
communities' interests.  You might be stretching things if you try to
put 'license compatibility' high on that totem pole.

> Ross
> 
> [1] http://gplv3.fsf.org/rationale

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