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Re: Report from the Debian Java developers meeting at FOSDEM


On Tue, 2004-03-02 at 19:25, Grzegorz B. Prokopski wrote:
> W liście z wto, 02-03-2004, godz. 10:54, Stefan Gybas pisze: 
> [... cutting out all things that I agree with ... ]
> > - License conflicts with GPL'ed Java interpreters
> > 
> >    Currently Kaffe 1.1.x is the best choice for running Java applications
> >    in Debian. It is, however, licensed under the GPL so there's been some
> >    discussion whether Java software which is licensed e.g. under the
> >    Apache License (version 1.1 or 2.0) can be run with it. The opinion of
> >    the Free Software Foundation can be found at
> >    http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#IfInterpreterIsGPL, however
> >    some developers have a different point of view since Kaffe's core
> >    classes are just another implementation of the standard Java API.

That there exists a standard API doesn't suddenly mean that combining a
GPLed work with something else to create a larger derived work makes
some terms of the GPL not apply anymore when you distribute the

> >    The long-term solution to this problem is probably the ongoing merge
> >    with GNU classpath (http://www.gnu.org/software/classpath/) which is
> >    licensed under the GPL with a linking exception. In a couple of
> Unless I am seriously missing something, this won't change much if
> anything, as the Kaffe JVM engine itself still remains under GPL.

The importance is that the more kaffe uses the same (GNU Classpath)
libraries as all other free VMs that what works with kaffe also works
with gcj/gij, kissme, sablevm, etc.

> If we want to think about free java not for "home-only" use, but so
> that free JVM could be distributed with variety of software
> (GPL-incompatible including, like Apache, Eclipse...)

The Apache foundation is in talks with the FSF to try to fix the last
remaining GPL-incompatibilities. We are also talking to the Eclipse
Board about the issues with the CPL when people want to combine it with
code distributed under the GPL (you know, because you helped write the
letter). These kind of things take a long time, but in the end it is
better to make sure these kind of licensing issues are really dealt with
then to work around them. 

>  I'd argue that
> GPLed JVM is not any vital choice. From any company POV it's just too
> dangerous to give some venture capitalists in .jp a gun to sue for
> breaking the GPL (and some of us wouldn't do it for moral reasons too).

They should not (try to) break the GPL period.

> > We also need to get/keep the free JVMs working on all architectures so 
> > they move to testing. This is the part where we currently need most help 
> > so if porters have a couple of minutes (or should I say hours?) please 
> > help us. Just send a mail to the debian-java mailing list.
> It might be just me, but I sense Kaffe-centrism here ;-)

Right. When looking at gcj/gij you will see that it basically works
everywhere GCC works, so free java-like support should be everywhere
even if kaffe doesn't work at the moment on some platforms. But it would
still be nice to get the current build failures that Arnaud posted
recently to the kaffe mailinglist fixed. See this thread:
And for NetBSD/OpenBSD:

> We all want to make free java usable and robust. But given that there's
> commerically-free Suns Java, we won't get far with not truly freely
> usable Java. That's why GNU Classpath is under GPL _with exception_, no?

The reason to switch to the GPL plus a exception clause was because we
merged with libgcj which was used by some developers in a couple of
embedded devices that required these terms. And to be honest, when I see
what the kaffe hackers accomplish and distribute under the GPL it makes
me feel silly that I ever advocated releasing software under something
else then the GPL proper.



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