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

Jules Bean jmlb2 at hermes.cam.ac.uk
Wed Feb 10 00:28:00 PST 1999

Hiya all..

I'm a debian developer, and we're notoriously anal about licenses ;-) so I
thought I've give you my stand.

We've been around these issues a few times before on the debian lists,
particularly with Qt.  Let me outline what it looks like to me:

Scenario 1:

I develop a commercial app, built against the standard Java API.  I
develop it on my Linux machine using Kaffe and some compiler (pizza,
maybe, but it doesn't matter).  The resultant java class files are, IMO,
utterly 'untainted' by the GPL.  The reason I claim this is that they have
been built against a standard API, which is not licensed at all.  My class
files will run equally well with Klasses.jar, classpath, and the sun JDK
(modulo bugs in those respective implementations!).  Therefore, my program
is not substantiatively 'linked' against any of the above.  I distribute
it to my customers, simply saying 'run this on any Java 1.1 compatible

Scenario 2:

I develop an application, using heavily some putative
kaffe.reallyutils.tim.rocks classes.  Since my application will not run
without those classes, my application can reasonable be considered to be
linked to them - and hence I am constrained by the GPL as it applies to
those classes.

Scenario 3:

I develop a custom VM, based on kaffe VM.  In this case there is *no
doubt* that I am using GPL'ed code and hence my custom VM must be GPLed.

The key difference between 1) and 2) is whether or not the combined work
can be sensibly described as 'linking' to the GPLed code.  IMO (and RMS
agreed with this point of view w.r.t the Qt/Harmony debate), it is not
'linking' when there is no co-distribution, and the code will run with any
of several existing implementations.  On the other and, and still IMO, it
*is* linking when there is only one implementation.


|  Jelibean aka  | jules at jellybean.co.uk         |  6 Evelyn Rd	       |
|  Jules aka     | jules at debian.org              |  Richmond, Surrey   |
|  Julian Bean   | jmlb2 at hermes.cam.ac.uk        |  TW9 2TF *UK*       |
|  War doesn't demonstrate who's right... just who's left.             |
|  When privacy is outlawed... only the outlaws have privacy.          |

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