[kaffe] distribution/license question

Dalibor Topic robilad at kaffe.org
Mon Nov 17 08:54:01 PST 2003

Dario Laverde wrote:
> Can I redistribute Kaffe as part of a commercial app as does Sun 
> allowing integration with your application w/o requiring a separate 
> installation? But more so than Sun, do I have to include the whole 
> distro? I'm looking to include only a subset  (personal java equivalent)

GPL says: you can distribute according to GPL. Depending on how the 
integration works in your specific case, your work may be a derived 
work, and fall under the GPL, or it may not be the case.

Example: Your commercial app is a JVMDI implementation for Personal 
Java. That requires modification of kaffe's VM as it is today, so the 
JVMDI interface would have to be GPLd. Or say, if your java app uses 
classes specific to kaffe/can't run on another VM then it could be 
claimed to be a derived work, resulting in it being covered by the GPL.

If you're just writing a VM agnostic java app, you should be fine, 
although I don't know for sure. There are different interpretations of 
how GPL applies to VM agnostic code running on kaffe: FSF says it 
becomes GPLd, some kaffe developers (and most recently debian-legal) say 
that the GPL doesn't propagate to cover VM agnostic code. A summary of 
the arguments can be found in this posts: [1] and[2]. If you need to 
know for sure, ask your lawyer ;)

Same applies to distributing modified versions of kaffe: as long as you 
do as GPL says, you're fine. Read the GPL to see what the GPL requires 
on your part. Supplying the source for the distributed version of kaffe, 
for example ;)

dalibor topic


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