[Kaffe] can the classpath project be used with Kaffe.

Moses DeJong dejong at cs.umn.edu
Tue Feb 9 19:48:27 PST 1999

On Tue, 9 Feb 1999, Godmar Back wrote:

> > 
> > Godmar Back wrote:
> > > I wouldn't say that it is us who duplicates efforts.  One could as easily
> > > argue that it's the classpath project who duplicates effort --- especially
> > > since they've started several months after Tim announced that he was working
> > > with Transvirtual on a free version of the java class libraries.  But saying
> > > that is pointless.  Because of the history of the classpath project, they're
> > > targetting japhar first, and that's okay this way.
> > 
> > Unfortunately, the projects both do and do not duplicate effort. The
> > fact is that the GPL license is rather too restrictive for some people,
> > and one reason that Japhar/Classpath exist in competition to Kaffe is
> > the fact that Kaffe is GPL instead of LGPL. The effort can be considered
> > duplicate if the intent of Transvirtual is to release the source code to
> > their potential competitors. However, I am led to wonder if the license
> > choice is deliberate to avoid Kaffe becoming the base of a product that
> > competes with Transvirtual's own in-house product.
> > 
> > You've (GB) said:
> > 
> >   Which do you think matters more?
> >   Stallman's opinion on how other people should enforce their copyrights
> >   or the stated interpretation of the people who actually licensed the
> > code?
> > 			http://rufus.w3.org/tools/Kaffe/messages/3901.html
> > 
> > But the sad fact is that neither Stallman's opinion nor the stated
> > interpretation of the people who actually licensed the code matters.
> > What matters is what is in the license, and the license clearly is more
> > restrictive than Transvirtual's stated interpretation is. The onus lies
> > with the copyright holders - transvirtual, or Tim, I'm not sure which -
> > to correct the license to agree with the "stated interpretation". The
> > stated interpretation just won't hold up in a US court (even though it
> > might in Canada or the UK!). 
> First off, I agree that the license that covers Kaffe's class libraries 
> could use clarification.

I do not think there is a conspiracy. I just think that making it clear
in the license would make people feel a lot better. The point is that
Transvirtual could sue people for using Kaffe, not that they actually
> However, I don't see the conspiracy here, but maybe I'm missing something.
> I had thought that the only possible scenario in which that question
> would even come up in court would be if TVT actually sued someone who
> ran proprietary .class files with the GPL'ed version of kaffe's libs.
> Then, Tim would have to say: never mind about our stated intentions,
> we tricked you: read the license and pay up.  This appears very, very 
> unlikely, to say the least, but I agree that a literal interpretation of 
> the GPL for Kaffe would allow for that scenario, and hence I second your 
> request for a clarification.
> My point is that only the copyright holder is legally *permitted* to
> pursue copyright violations.  Is this not the case in US law?
> Why does the FSF ask contributors to assign the copyrights for GNU 
> projects?

If Transvirtual does not want people to sell Kaffe as part of proprietary
code then more power to them. They wrote the code so they can decide
what the license terms are. The only sticky part about this is how
you define "proprietary". You might just be talking about people
that might want to sell Kaffe, but under the terms of the GPL,
"proprietary" could mean any code that is not covered by the GPL.
With the sad state of the U.S. court system, people might not use
Kaffe just because they might get sued. It is not right but thats
the way it is.

> About the LGPL/GPL issue.  It is true that japhar's license is less
> restrictive than Kaffe's.  Their VM can be embedded in proprietary
> products while Kaffe cannot, and I would imagine that TVT would want
> to enforce that in court.  From the point of view of people interested
> in non-commercial free software, or commercial and non-commercial open 
> source software, this should not matter a bit.
> Companies that want to use a VM to embed in their proprietary products 
> should either license Kaffe, or use a LGPL'ed version, or write their own.
> I personally don't see anything wrong with that.
> So, I would agree that Japhar does indeed serve a different need than
> Kaffe, but this is not true for classpath and kaffe's libs, assuming that
> the copyright is amended to exclude the (unlikely) scenario I described 
> above.
> 	- Godmar

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