[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Artistic and LGPL compatibility in jar files

On Fri Dec 11 22:42, Andrew Dalke wrote:
> There seems to be a licensing problem with some of the chemistry software packages, at least one of which is included in Debian. I'm working with a few of the package developers to see if there really is a problem. We need some better advice than I can find.
> Short version:
>  - Can an LGPL 2.1 JAR library include an Artistic License library and
>      still be distributed under the LGPL 2.1?
>  - What about an LGPL 2.1 JAR library including a package under the Artistic
>      License 2.0 license? Or would the entire package need to be
>      moved to the GPL as a relicensing which is compatible with both
>      underlying licenses?

I believe that neither of these licences specify the licence of the code
they are linked with, so this will be alright. The resulting licence of
the package will be _both_, applying to different parts, AIUI.

>  - One of the XML schema files is released (most likely) under the
>      Creative Commons - No Derivation license. This is used by the
>      Artistic License package in order to do schema validation. Can
>      the LGPL 2.1 library include functionality which requires
>      this unalterable schema definition?

Well, the biggest problem is that the CC-ND licence is not DFSG free, so
inclusion of this at all would require putting the package in non-free.

> I'm going to simplify the story a bit and give a minimal example. CDK
> is the "Chemistry Development Kit", available in Debian as
>  http://packages.qa.debian.org/c/cdk.html
> It is distributed under the LGPL 2.1. It is one of a number of LGPL'ed
> chemistry tools which use the JUMBO and CML toolkits available from
>  https://sourceforge.net/projects/cml/
> This software library and program are available under the "Artistic
> License", which you can read in the Sourceforge details and in the
> distributed pom.xml file. The distribution also includes the file
> LICENSE.txt, saying:

This doesn't sound like the two things being included in the same
package? I'd expect it to depend on them at build and runtime.


> I have contacted one of the authors and gotten different responses.
> Originally he said the package was "Artistic License 2.0" and then
> said "the pom.xml file says it is 'Artistic License'", and in
> discussions where I pointed out the existence of the LICENSE.txt file
> he said that he wants those additional restrictions in place, so I am
> going on the principle that the LICENSE.txt file is correct, and that
> the license is "Artistic License" and not "Artistic License 2.0".
> Notably, the license text is not included in the distribution.
> CDK is one of the downstream chemistry toolkits which make Java jar
> distributions which use and repackage the jar file released by the
> JUMBO/CML project. One of them also includes a patched JAR file. These
> are not simple aggregates in a single jar file; the downstream
> packages make use of functionality from the JUMBO/CML package.

ugh, that's generally really bad form...

> My understanding is that mixing the Artistic License and LGPL 2.1 is
> not possible. I base this primarily on the FSF statement that they
> consider the Artistic License to be incompatible with the GPL. I have
> not found a statement about compatibility between the Artistic License
> the LGPL.

GPL is definitely != LGPL in this area, but I'd appreciate other
comments on the issue

> I tried to read and understand the Artistic License but I got
> confused. The simplest conflict seems to be that the Artistic License
> says "You may not charge a fee for this Package itself." where
> ""Package" refers to the collection of files distributed by the
> Copyright Holder, and derivatives of that collection of files created
> through textual modification." This is in conflict with the LGPL 2.1
> clause "You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a
> copy".

This may well be a problem for combining things into a single package,
but I would not have thought it was an issue for things in different

> I have talked with one of the authors of JUMBO/CML and they may be
> willing to relicense under the Artistic License 2.0. In doing the
> research for that I read that the FSF considers the 2.0 license
> compatible with the GPL because of the relicensing clause 4(c)(ii),
> which allows the GPL.

In this case the whole work would be distributed under the full GPL, not
the LGPL
> This is relevant because it would prevent CDK and other downstream
> packages from including libraries which are compatible with the LGPL
> but not compatible with the GPL. Or they would remove or reimplement
> the JUMBO/CML component.


> If it is possible to relicense and be compatible with the LGPL 2.1,
> the main CDK developer wants to know how to relicense the software.
> Does he need to make a specific source release of JUMBO/CML under
> the LGPL 2.1 then turn around and use it inside of his code? Or can
> CDK include the JUMBO/CML code and just state somewhere inside the
> CDK documentation "Originally under the Artistic License 2.0 and
> relicensed under clause 4(c)(ii) to the LGPL 2.1"?

A simple statement from the copyright holder(s) (all of them) should
> Can an LGPL package include an XML schema definition which may not be
> changed but which is required in order to use part of the LGPL API?

regardless of this (and I think the schema can be data for these
purposes, so yes), it can't go in Debian main.

Matthew Johnson

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: