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From "Ceki Gulcu (JIRA)" <j...@apache.org>
Subject [jira] Commented: (LEGAL-63) Are Apache projects allowed to include Logback in their builds?
Date Sat, 19 Dec 2009 10:47:18 GMT

    [ https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LEGAL-63?page=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.issuetabpanels:comment-tabpanel&focusedCommentId=12792833#action_12792833

Ceki Gulcu commented on LEGAL-63:

(To Ralph: when is the last time you saw a user, all impious and lazy scoundrels, close a
bug report? You can quote me on the "impious and lazy" bit.)

As Ralph points out, logback is now dual licensed (LGPL/EPL) so the original question raised
in this bug report is no longer relevant.

However, the theoretical case of an LGPLed library implementing a standard (licensed under
a liberal license) remains valuable. It illustrates LGPL's requirements on reverse engineering.
For example,

Let FooCorp be a company and Frobber be some software developed by FooCorp. Frobber codes
against the SLF4J API without ever directly referencing logback. Can FooCorp distribute Frobber
with an unmodified version of logback (our LGPLed library). Does the LGPL require FooCorp
to allow users to reverse engineer Frobber for their own use? Keep in mind that Frobber usage
of logback in Frobber is isolated behind the SLF4J API.

The answer to that question is surprisingly yes, although with some qualifications too hairy
to be mentioned. FooCorp is required to allow reverse engineering of logback in the software
license for Frobber. This follows from discussions with Luigi Bai, an FSF volunteer, and is
also documented by the Free Software licensing quiz (see http://www.gnu.org/cgi-bin/license-quiz.cgi
), in particular question 8, which reads:

Question: FooCorp [a company] distributes Frobber [software developed by FooCord] linked against
an unmodified version of LibIdo [an LGPL library]. Does the LGPL require FooCorp to allow
users to reverse engineer Frobber for their own use?

Correct answer: Yes.

I still have my doubts about the applicability of the reverse-engineering clause but the FSF
thinks otherwise, as insofar that an organization can think. FSF's interpretation is in turn
echoed as defensive measures by others, e.g. the ASF. The LGPL is a little less liberal than
what it seems initially. It is what it is, neither good or bad. Nevertheless, the mere fact
that the reverse-engineering question is so convoluted and shrouded in layers of gobbledygook,
is the of the principal reasons for dual-licensing logback. 

> Are Apache projects allowed to include Logback in their builds?
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
>                 Key: LEGAL-63
>                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/LEGAL-63
>             Project: Legal Discuss
>          Issue Type: Question
>            Reporter: Ceki Gulcu
> Background:
> SLF4J is licensed under the MIT license. Logback is licensed under the LGPL.
> SLF4J has an API which logback implements. SLF4J can be used with at least 5 other implementations,
some of which are licensed under AL2.0 and some under MIT. 
> Given that the end-user can pick and choose an implementation and assuming a given Apache
Project (AP) only imports SLF4J classes in its source code (java classes):
> 1) can AP include references to logback in its build scripts?
> 2) can AP include logback in its standard distribution?

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