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From Benson Margulies <bimargul...@gmail.com>
Subject Cobertura's view of the apache license versus the GPL
Date Fri, 01 Apr 2011 15:40:05 GMT

The following is only peripherally an Apache issue, at most. If you
read this and are inclined to reply by explaining that to me, I can't
stop you, but I beg your forbearance.

The following web page


makes a claim: that 'license incompatibility' prevents the use of an
ant plugin containing GPL code unless there's an extra level of JVM in
there somewhere. Reading Larry Rosen's writings, this strikes me as
fantasy. If someone bundled up ant and a gpl plugin and distributed
the combination of the two, then there might, perhaps, be an argument
about aggregation versus derivation. Personally, even that strikes me
as weak.

My first question is, would anyone official at ASF feel that it was a
worthwhile use of time to try to convince the owner of this page to
stop publishing a false and misleading claim about the terms of the
AL? This isn't intended rhetorically; I pretty much expect that the
answer will be 'no'.

My second question has to do with the recent discussion of reflection
as a solution to GPL dependencies. I fully appreciate that here at ASF
we have multiple reasons to avoid GPL dependencies. Even if we all
follow Larry Rosen's line of reasoning that calling a subroutine
doesn't make a derived work, etc, we want to build things usable to
people who don't agree, or who are lumbered with managers or lawyers
or customers who dont'.

At the same time, I'm comparing two scenarios:

1) Source code that compiles with no GPL-licensed artifacts in the
same county. Maybe there's a test module that, when asked, downloads a
GPL item and uses it in a test.

2) Source code with a build system (e.g. Maven) that automatically
downloads GPL-licensed artifacts and uses them to enable compilation
-- however, the resulting 'thing that gets built' works fine at
runtime if you leave all the GPL-licensed items in orbit around

Is this a distinction with a difference? (Again, I'm not asking if
it's a big enough difference to change ASF policy. I'm trying to
understand this to address a situation outside the ASF.)

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