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Re: The Sun Community Source License is Very Bad News

Regarding the issue of whether Sun is trying to claim a copyright
covering any implementation of the Jini specifications, here is the
relevant text in the license:

    <BR><BR> <p> GL.13 "<B>Modification(s)</B>" means (i) any change,
    deletion or addition to the Source Code of Covered Code, (ii) any new
    file or other representation of computer program statements that
    contains any portion of such Source Code, and/or (iii) any new Source
    Code implementing any portion of the Specifications. "Modifications"
    include Error Corrections, Shared Modifications and Your associated
    revised Specifications.

The clause that raises the issue is iii.  It is clear that this does
not deal with copying of the specifications document itself.  It
refers to "new source code".

The fact that this appears in the definition of "modifications"
suggests that the intention of iii was to refer to any additional
source code that you use *together with Sun's source code* to
implement the Specifications (meaning A).  That meaning would raise no
particular issue, if only that were the unambiguous meaning of the

But it is not clear that the words mean A; read literally, they would
apply to an entirely new program implementing the Specifications
(meaning B).

I suggest that a small group of respected leaders of the community
talk with Bill Joy and ask what these words are intended to
mean--pointing out in a polite way how outrageous meaning B would be.
I think that Eric and/or Bruce would be good people to do this.  I'm
willing to participate, but I think that the point would be more
effective coming from people who are not regarded as radical.

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