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

Jim Pick jim at kaffe.org
Fri Jun 27 08:52:01 PDT 2003

On Fri, 2003-06-27 at 05:38, Dalibor Topic wrote:
> Anyway, this has been done to death every couple of months, and my conclusion
> is: 
> * 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
> http://web.archive.org/web/20020220084736/http://www.kaffe.org/FAQ.html#proprietary.
> * it would be very hard to relicense everything now, since transvirtual is dead

That's basically where I'm at on the issue as well.  I'll add some
more comments to this thread, since I think it summarizes the
issues quite well, and I don't want to write a FAQ.Licensing.  :-)

Where we want to go on the licensing is to realize that the GPL
licensing is a small bit of an impediment to us, imposed on us by
Transvirtual/FSF dealing in days gone past.  GPL+Exception would be
ideal, but the only way to do that is to throw away all code that was
contributed to us under the GPL.  I don't want to do that.

I guess what I'd like to add to this thread is that it would be nice if
new contributions to class libraries and such came in under non-GPL
licenses, and we keep track of those.  If people contribute their
changes to Classpath, which is GPL+Exception, that does it for us
automatically.  But Kaffe can also take code under other GPL-compatible
licenses (eg. BSD-style), and does not require copyright assignment, so
we can take additional contributions that Classpath can't take.

Ultimately, we're trying to be greedy, not pure, and if somebody wants
to contribute pure GPL code for something, we aren't going to say no. 
This might provide a vehicle for some people doing a research project,
or a business that wants to relicense their code to get their code out
there -- but still leave the door open to selling their code
commercially under an alternate license (it's a pretty tough business
model though, as Transvirtual will testify).

I don't know if there is much point in trying to get away from GPL
contributions for the core virtual machine - those contributions would
be hard to separate out and use in an alternate VM project.  If somebody
does want to do a contribution to the core virtual machine under a
non-GPL but GPL compatible license, so it could be reused elsewhere, we
should respect that, and clearly mark the alternate licensing terms on
their contribution.

I don't think we should try to ditch the current VM stuff, and go back
to the old BSD licensed version of Kaffe, and try to reimplement
everything since Transvirtual did the switch to the GPL license.  If
somebody (or a company) feels so strongly about the licensing issue that
they'd like to start maintaining the old BSD licensed version of Kaffe
again, I'd be open to letting them use Kaffe.org's resources to do a
"fork", maybe under another name, so it doesn't confuse people.  There
are already lots of VMs based off of Kaffe, so that's something we like
to promote.


 - Jim

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