Most popular applications?

Jim Pick jim at
Thu Mar 21 12:47:32 PST 2002

Thanks for the good suggestions for apps.

> By the way, have you given any thought to improving cooperation with the
> GNU Classpath project? I realize that currently the licensing is
> probably an insurmountable goal to actually merging Kaffe's class
> library with Classpath, but it would be nice to be able to configure
> Kaffe to run --with-classpath, if such a thing were possible.
> Duplication of effort on such a large problem as the Java libraries
> seems so tragically wasteful.

Yeah, the licensing debate has always been a pain.  Lots of splitting
hairs.  :-)

I definitely want to see Classpath running on Kaffe, as an option.  The
primary obstacle I see is just getting the integration work done.  The
licensing issue is primarily that Classpath is GPL + exception, while
Kaffe is strictly GPL.

Transvirtual obviously can't relicense Classpath as part of our KaffePro
proprietary VM, so I see two parallel sets of class libraries going

That said, I don't see why we can't redistribute Classpath with Kaffe.  

I'm still pretty good friends with Paul Fisher of the Classpath project
(he used to work with me at Transvirtual, he now works for the FSF), and
he discussed some of the legal issues with me.

Legally, I think that's doable, as long as we clarify that Kaffe's GPL
overrides the exception in Classpath.  That shouldn't have any affect on
people using Kaffe for GPL sort of things.  If people want to do non-GPL
types of things, they are already affected by the fact by Kaffe's
GPLness.  The fact that they use Classpath instead of the Kaffe class
libraries shouldn't add any additional legal burden on them. 
Kaffe+Classpath will have more of a legal burden (eg. pure GPL) than
something like gcj+Classpath (GPL + exception).

I think the old issue used to be whether or not Classpath should be GPL,
or GPL+Exception.  If I understand the long, sad tale correctly, Tim
Wilkinson had convinced RMS not to use GPL+Exception for Classpath,
since Transvirtual was developing and had released the class libraries
for Kaffe under the GPL, and theoretically having a competitive library
under a competing, freer free software license would have been
detrimental to the business.  Red Hat and Paul Fisher wanted it to be
GPL+Exception to make it easier to license to companies.  So even though
Classpath was GPL, they did not want to incorporate the GPL code from
Transvirtual.  Transvirtual has a business of relicensing their
implementation to proprietary customers, so was unwilling to release the
code under anything more liberal than the GPL, fearing it would make it
impossible to sell the proprietary version.  Hence the reason there are
two sets of libraries now.  The IP business is icky.  :-)

But that's history, and now Classpath is GPL+Exception.

People who have need to worry about the legal burden (eg. they have
serious commercial needs) should probably be looking at licensing a
commercial version anyways (eg. KaffePro, Red Hat's stuff, Sun's
version, Insignia, etc.) for other reasons, like protected their own
proprietary intellectual property, patent issues, support needs, etc.

Maybe Classpath might even become the default class library for Kaffe,
if that's what people want to use.  But I don't see any good reason to
completely scrap Kaffe's current class libs either.

Maybe I should go into law...


 - Jim

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