[kaffe] Build system for kjc / external jars + Jetty/JSP success

Dalibor Topic robilad at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 27 05:35:01 PDT 2003

Hi Jim,

--- Jim Pick <jim at kaffe.org> wrote:
> On Thu, 2003-06-26 at 08:16, Rob Gonzalez wrote:

> What I was talking about was bundling some applications that run "on
> top" of the VM, to simplify some build-time dependencies.  By doing
> this, our users benefit, as they don't have to scurry around looking for
> bits all over the net and applying patches.  This is bundling /
> distribution issue.  I think there's a clear distinction between
> bundling packages that run on top of the VM, and linking them in.

we don't really depend on ant yet, so this is all highly hypothetical. I'm
sorry that I  started the licensing thread all over again, it seems to be a
summer thing ;)

I agree with jim on the distinctiom between running a Java application (that
would run unmodified on other, non-GPLd VMs) on kaffe, and actually linking
it's code into the VM/class library. 

Java's way of dynamically loading classes (or even creating them on the fly)
blurs the whole linking process quite bit, in my opinion, and leaves room for
interpretation and endless IANAL threads filled with straw man arguments.

> Actually, distributing some non-GPL compatible apps along with the VM
> sources is not a bad way to help people understand how we interpret the
> licensing issues.  I don't believe that the GPL, when used as a license
> on a virtual machine, is so "super viral" that it contaminates
> applications run on top of the machine, or bundled alongside it. 
> Granted, it's a matter of interpretation, but I've had discussions with
> a number of free software "luminaries" that basically agree with that
> interpretation.

well, 'we' in this case is also the FSF. Some bits of FSF code are now in
kaffe's class library, but they are licensed as GPL + linking exception, so I
don't really know if they could propagete their more 'viral' interpretation of
the GPL on the other code, that's not copyrighted by them. Nor do I really want
to spend the next two weeks arguing finer points of the GPL virality, really. 

Anyway, this has been done to death every couple of months, and my conclusion
* I don't really know
* if you don't know either but have to know ask your lawyer
* none has complained yet
* transvirtual was fine with everything running on top of kaffe, see
* it would be very hard to relicense everything now, since transvirtual is dead

That being said, if there are 'debian-main-blessed' alternatives for building
some applications kaffe may end up depending upon, I see no problem with that.
Let's purely hypothetically assume that building kjc turns out to require ant
to rebuild some library used by kjc. Then the debian developers could just
write a Makefile to build the thing using jikes, and the ant dependency is
gone. AFAIK, automake has got support for Java by now.

> Debian will understand.  They are in the bundling / distribution

I am not so sure they will understand. They went into a 'holier then thou'
confrontation with the FSF on the 'freeness' of GNU FDL recently, AFAIK. The
debian-legal mailing list has the reputation of being very, very picky about
licensing issues, and rightly so. 

But in the end, no matter what we discuss as non-lawyers here, it's up to 
debian developers to decide how to interpret the GPL with respect to kaffe and
non-GPL-compatible java apps for their distribution.

dalibor topic

Do you Yahoo!?
SBC Yahoo! DSL - Now only $29.95 per month!

More information about the kaffe mailing list