Licensing questions

Geir Magnusson Jr. geir at
Thu Jan 21 14:09:06 UTC 2010

On Jan 21, 2010, at 9:01 AM, Mario Torre wrote:

> Il giorno gio, 21/01/2010 alle 08.20 -0500, Geir Magnusson Jr. ha
> scritto:
>> On Jan 21, 2010, at 8:00 AM, Mario Torre wrote:
>>> Il giorno gio, 21/01/2010 alle 07.44 -0500, Geir Magnusson Jr. ha
>>> scritto:
>>>> It's far from a myth.  Sun has been open about the fact that they won't give the ASF a TCK license for Java SE in order to protect licensing revenue.
>>> Usual story as always with you, Geir.
>> Because it's a continuing problem.  
>> I and others are passionate about having the freedom to implement the Java SE spec and pass the TCK, and we haven't given up the fight.  You may not understand it now, but having one commercial entity able to assert direct control over any independent implementation of any spec, Java or otherwise, is a bad thing for FLOSS and software in general.
>> Sun's recalcitrance in dealing with Google over ME led us to Android (based on Apache Harmony's class libraries!), which is great because of the shake it's giving the mobile space, but I do have reservations simply because I'm not interested in seeing Java fork.  Talk about Pyrrhic victories...
> Not sure what to add, we're going into the usual endless loop here and i
> got work to do...


> The TCK issue is concrete, right.
> You wrote back then and I link here what Mark replied in his blog, which
> is in good wordings a point of view that I share almost completely about
> the issue:
> You name Android. But Android isn't so Free as you imply. It's locked
> exactly as the ME market, and in addition to that, they use as a basis
> an implementation that (forgive me if I say that) is far for being
> usable: the fact that they add, in house, all bells and whistles, add
> their own stack on it, and just develop that, without back
> contributions, doesn't mean it's open.

I guess it depends on your definition of open.

> And this is allowed because your funny license[1] explicitly allows
> that, but as you say, every one is free to chose whatever license wants
> for his own projects, and this is a point where I completely agree with
> you (shall the world end up today because I said that!).
> There's nothing that prevent you to port OpenJDK to any Symbian phone,
> for example, just sit down and do it.

The interesting question is why haven't people done that?

>> Note that the individual asked about commercial, embedded use, which isn't always compatible
>> with the reciprocity conditions of the GPL, CP exception notwithstanding.
> Yeah, indeed. Although I have some experience on that and 99% of the
> time the CP is what makes the difference.

as long as that's the touchpoint.  If the touchpoint is the "bottom", things are different.  (Which is why the entire 'surface' isn't coated with CP...)

>> I'm guessing no.
> Like Mark would say, you really believe I'm just an "anarchist free
> software punk".

Nope.  I never assumed.  But I've never heard of a tight embedding of OpenJDK (in the sense you embed Java ME, or Android), I simply assumed that the probability that you have done so was small.

Have you done so? :)

> But, ok it doesn't matter... Once again, let's go back to the topic, I
> quote Andrews' FUD free reply: "The usual advice with free software is
> that if you need legal advice, consult a lawyer". That's all you need.
> Cheers,
> Mario
> [1] Yeah, truth is, by saying funny, I'm pushing it to provoke you a
> bit, because I honestly don't think the ASL is a bad license at all.

It's one choice among many.  (And it's "AL" - there is no "Software" in the name of the license...)


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