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From Roman Shaposhnik <ro...@shaposhnik.org>
Subject Re: License statement third party modified code
Date Sat, 20 Feb 2016 00:18:31 GMT
On Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 9:32 AM, Steve Varnau <steve.varnau@esgyn.com> wrote:
> Hello,
> Instructions on the website regarding source headers:
> http://www.apache.org/legal/src-headers.html
> Gives instructions for “Treatment of third-party works”. Point five says:
>                 Major modifications/additions to third-party should be
> dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the PMC.
> So I raised these questions in the general@incubator list.  I got no
> responses except for suggestion to bring the question to this
> legal-discuss list.
> I've identified two cases we have in Trafodion. In both cases, I believe
> we have handled the third-party copyright/license statements correctly in
> the LICENSE file and in the source code.
> The question is whether this code has had so much modification that we
> need to also put an Apache license header into these files, or some other
> sort of statement, or if it fine as is with only the third-party
> copyrights?
> Case 1:  One file (only couple hundred lines) that was taken from flex for
> parsing was modified substantially to create new function in order to
> handle parsing of Unicode text. As far as my research can tell, all the
> Unicode-specific work is specific to Trafodion and was developed by HP,
> which was then granted to ASF.
> https://github.com/apache/incubator-trafodion/blob/master/core/sql/parser/
> ulexer.h
> Case 2: Several dozen tests that were written for Phoenix by Salesforce.
> Trafodion took a copy of those tests after they were open-sourced, but
> before the code was granted to ASF.  Trafodion adapted those tests to run
> against Trafodion instead of Phoenix. The tests generally do the same
> things as originally intended, but were heavily modified due to what
> Phoenix supported versus what Trafodion supported at that time and since.
> The forked tests were maintained separately over the last couple years,
> they were not merged over after the initial copy.
> https://github.com/apache/incubator-trafodion/tree/master/tests/phx/src/te
> st/java/org/trafodion/phoenix/end2end
> Any guidance?

IANAL, but having dealt with a lot of situations like the above, I've
always been
advised to be extremely conservative about licensing implications of refactoring
existing code. In certain cases, even if you no so much refactor, but rewrite it
from scratch you may still be 'contaminated' by the original implementation and
thus you may not be able to unilaterally release it under a different

So let me ask you a question back: why do you think it would be a problem
to leave those files be and keep calling them out in LICENSE/NOTICE ?


(*) I was once witness of the clean-room reverse engineering exercise in a big
corporation that was  trying to integrate with GPL library and had to
do a tricky
assembly-level handshake. The exercise consisted of one engineer reading
the original's handshake assembly code and then explaining it to the
2nd engineer
in generic terms so that the 2nd guy could write an implementation.

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