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From Jeffrey Thompson <jt...@us.ibm.com>
Subject Re: Maven Cobertura Plugin - GPL Javascript files
Date Wed, 21 Nov 2007 13:32:09 GMT

"Niall Pemberton" <niall.pemberton@gmail.com> wrote on 11/20/2007 06:26:22
PM:

> On Nov 19, 2007 3:42 PM, Jeffrey Thompson <jthom@us.ibm.com> wrote:
> > Subject to being corrected, I'd expect the answer to be no.  I don't
think
> > GPL is on the list of approved licenses for included components of an
> > Apache project.  Are the javascript files really necessary?  Can
cobertura
> > plugin produce a different format output that doesn't require those
files?#
>
> Henri, Jeff, Jesse,
>
> Thanks for responding. A release of cobertura with an alternative
> would be great, but thats not in my control. However I was hoping for
> "hey no problem, its only documentation" type answers. I just went
> back and read the (hopefully soon to be official) 3rd party license
> policy/guidelines here:
>
>   http://people.apache.org/~cliffs/3party.html
>
> The second and third of the "Guiding principles" talk about "software"
> and "products that depend on other software". Does this really apply
> to documentation as well? Its not the software we develop, just some
> generated reports about the software we develop. Surely that
> documentation has zero impact on the license of the software we've
> developed and therefore on the user.

But, the javascript files are software.  The fact that their use is solely
to display the documentation isn't the point.  And even if the weren't
software, if they were just text, there would still be a problem.

>
> In the "Software License Criteria" section it says:
> "The purpose behind these additional requirements are to minimize the
> chance that a user of an Apache product will create a derivative work
> of a reciprocally-licensed portion of an Apache product without being
> aware of the applicable requirements."
>
> I can't see how reading a HTML report that uses a javascript file for
> some display effect places any additional requirements on a user's
> derivative work?

But, what if someone wanted to modify the project or combine it with some
additional software and distribute it commercially?  They would not be
permitted (because of the javascript files) to use their normal commercial
license terms, which is what the Guiding Principles are trying to address.
Because of those files, the combined package would need to have at least 2
licenses, the normal license for the bulk of the package, and the L/GPL for
the javascript files.

>
> Niall
>

What I find surprising is that a development tool would include L/GPL code
in what is in effect runtime support.  That creates a trap of sorts if the
user doesn't notice that the tool is embedding L/GPL code in their output.
Although I wouldn't go as far as saying that all GPL javascript is evil, it
certainly is troublesome from a licensing perspective.

Jeff

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





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