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From Dalibor Topic <robi...@kaffe.org>
Subject Re: Making a redist of all the javax.* packages
Date Sun, 08 Jan 2006 14:17:37 GMT
Jason van Zyl <jason <at> maven.org> writes:

> Hi,
> This is something I tried to rectify more then four years. I talked to 
> some people at Sun in addition to Geir talking to some people at Sun and 
> here's the quick summary.
> 1. Sun has never changed the license for things like JavaMail because 
> although it is technically illegal to make Sun Binary License artifacts 
> available outside a distribtion, Sun is not going to go after anyone.

Hi Jason,

Last time I saw people saying "sure the license says it, but they are not going
to go after anyone" (JDocs.com) the thing ended up with Sun calling the folks
and making sure they stopped flgrantly violating their license. Business is
business. It was a different license from the BCL, though, but pretty clearly
violated and Sun put a stop to it.

Sun has enforced their licenses and trademarks in the past when they believed it
was necessary, and that's not likely to change. If Sun would not reserve the
right to enforce the licensing terms, they would release their implementations
into public domain, or release them under different licenses.

> 2. If you can provide the user with the license verbatim as they would 
> see it downloading from Sun and provide a click through then all the 
> legal requirements are satisfied. 

Only if you are able to act as an agent for Sun Microsystems (for which you'd
need a distribution contract with Sun Microsystems, I assume). The licensing
agreement is an explicite contract between Sun Microsystems and the user, and as
it requires explicit consent from the user, you have to be acting as the agent
of Sun Microsystem for a valid contract to be formed. No valid contract, no
license to use -> the user is in legal risk because he's using proprietary
software without license.

That's no different from the user buying a Microsoft Windows XP Pro CD on a flea
market in Bosnia: the user may have successfully formed a contract with the
'pirate', but unless he has formed a contract with Microsoft, he has no right to
use the copy.

> I think a better use of our collective time would be to create a small 
> tool which cataloged the location of the SBL JARs and showed the user 
> the license and allowed them to agree to the presented terms and 
> continue with the build. In this mode we are operating in a legal 
> fashion and not trying to circumvent SBL even though this is a 
> ridiculous situation which SUN has never addressed.
> I think creating a small tool to semi-automate the click through 
> agreement would be the optimal solution.

There is no lack of such tools. That's like any packaging of JDK for a Linux
distribution that does not involve manually downloading it from a proprietary
runtime vendor site, and agreeing to the licenses in a
proprietary-vendor-sanctioned way. They have also been ocassionally shut down by
the legal teams of proprietary Java vendors and their legality is dubious at
best for the reasons I gave above.

See http://journal.boblycat.org/karltk/archives/entry-000272.html for an example
(Gentoo, IBM JDK for PowerPC-GNU/Linux).

Yes, Java Technlogy licensing is a mess. That's one of the reasons why people
are busy writing better implementations of the proprietary "w4r3z" as free
software in various projects inside and outside Apache.

dalibor topic

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