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Re: [kaffe] Using kaffe(GPL2) with other DFSG-compat licenses

On Mon, 2002-08-05 at 16:05, Grzegorz Prokopski wrote:
> W liście z pon, 05-08-2002, godz. 20:17, Jim Pick pisze: 
> > I don't have any problems with using Kaffe with non-GPL applications.  I
> > had an interesting discussion with John Gilmore wrt. GPL contamination
> > across interpreter-application boundaries, and he adamantly felt that
> > there was not an issue there.  And he should know, having founded
> > Cygnus, with the business model of developing GPL'd compilers and
> > interpreters.  He gave me the email of the FSF's lawyer, in case I
> > needed any clarification.
> IMHO it would be good to have lawyer opinion written sowewhere in public
> place like some ml. I am not sure (people at debian-legal should know
> better) but if that hasn't been said publicly yet - it would be
> needed.
> Especially if the lawyer you're talking about is from FSF and we can
> count on that in his opinion that GPLed kaffe VM and it's libs can be
> used with GPL-incompatible software.

Okay, let's request an official opinion on this, if it will help Debian

I'm willing to help on this - I'm pretty busy this week though (I've got
a few job interviews to go to).  My schedule should be better next week.

> > an implicit threat.  Transvirtual was shut down about 5 days ago, so I
> > don't think "the threat" is really a big issue anymore, unless the
> > people who now control the intellectual property want to make it into an
> > issue.  I don't even know who the people who control the intellectual
> > property are now (and I bet they know even less about what Kaffe is).
> We should not depend on today-free-tomorrow-be-sued software I think.
> Today's kaffe 1.0.7 is great step forward but before we do great
> move of Java software from contrib to main (which can happen given
> how many work is being put into kaffe lately) - we should have some
> serious advice on licensing issue.
> It looks messy for me ATM and in this state... it's hard to build on
> moving sands... we need a rock.

I understand.
> > > For example, what if we had JVM from kaffe (GPLed) but used it with
> > > gnu classlib (GPL+linking exception clause)? Does it change anything?
> > In the worst case scenario, everything is GPL'd.  
> If that's the case - most of us can forget about kaffe today.

Of course, that's just a scenario.  An opinion from a lawyer would be

> > I'm not going to get upset about anybody running anything on top of
> > Kaffe.  My view of the world is essentially GPL+(implicit Exception) -
> > but I think I'd have trouble getting the license switched on Kaffe to
> > say that.
> I'd like to propose sth here, very seriously.
> After reading what You said - I think you should switch the license of
> every code that is added to caffe since today to for ex. GPL+linking
> exception.
> That fits because
> 1. You claim that you want kaffe to be used with GPL-incompatible
> software (I don't think of non-free here, but Apache like)
> 2. Transvirtual doesn't exist anymore so you're more free to choose
> the license you want for your code.
> 3. You claimed that you want to be more cooperation with gnu classpath
> project, even to have all classpath work be done via that project - it
> will surely make it much more possible. After some time - you would have
> some parts only under new license (GPL+clause) which would allow direct,
> both side exchange.
> There's always the future we should look into...
> Unfortunatelly that doesn't solve our today's problem. sigh.

I'm willing to make all the code I write for Kaffe in the future
available under the GPL+Exception.  Of course, that doesn't change the
license of the code that's already been written.  I'm not planning on
rewriting the bulk of the code, or going back 4 years (or whenever) to
when Kaffe was BSD-licensed.

Again, depending on the opinion of the lawyer, it might not even be
necessary to use GPL+Exception - plain GPL would be free enough.  That
would be nice, because there are situations where it would be nice
incorporate 3rd-part code that is plain GPL.

I can see issues though - take the classic GNU readline licensing
debacle.  GNU readline is licensed under the GPL (not LGPL), so it can't
be used in proprietary software.  But say somebody wrapped it in a JNI
wrapper, and we shipped it with kaffe.  Then would a proprietary Java
application that used the Java binding be legal?  I doubt it.

> > > For now Kaffe technically _may_ be the key to get _A LOT_ of Java stuff
> > > from contrib to main. That's why clearing this out is so important.
> > > Please elaborate.
> > I personally take the position that Kaffe's GPL licensing does not
> Sorry, but you know, that personal opinions have not much to do with
> all that stuff, when you're not copyright holder.

True.  The opinion of the copyright holder is more important than mine
-- but only if they have a strong opinion on the subject.  If they are
disinterested in the topic, then you might just be splitting hairs.  And
if the lawyer says GPL doesn't contaminate across interpreter boundaries
in this case, then the copyright holders probably don't have a legal leg
to stand on, even if they were spitting mad and uttering threats.

> But if that's what you really think - IMO you should change licensing
> of new things you're working on for kaffe. State your opinion
> clearly in the license - that's so easy :-)

I can see different parts of Kaffe being under different licenses.  I
doubt that Kaffe will even be "GPL-free", but at least other people will
be able to take the portions of the code licensed under more-liberal
licenses, and use it elsewhere.

> > "contaminate" across the interpreter-application boundary.  So you
> > should be able to use it anywhere you'd normally use Sun's JVM.  If you
> > need some more clarification, I'd be willing to work with you and
> > debian-legal to ask for an interpretation from the FSF's lawyer.

> Yes, please do - I think that will be needed (if nobody objects).
> FSF and Debian were always very close and if FSF's lawyer can assure
> us about what we'd like to hear - it would be sin not to ask him to
> say that in public =)

Let's do it - next week maybe.  I think we should do a fair amount of
work on our end documenting the legal issues before we pull the lawyer
in (I'm sure the FSF lawyer is pretty busy).
> Seriously - IMHO we need good legal advice here from somebod that
> understands Java. It should be stated publicly and once forever
> so that we didn't have troubles later.

Agreed.  At the end of this process, we should have a FAQ.licensing.


 - Jim

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