Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 2nd Apr 2006 18:31 UTC
Java The community effort hosted by the Apache Software Foundation to create an open source, J2SE 5.0 compatible Java runtime/virtual machine is progressing slowly but steadily. Despite some indifference and prejudice by some OSS pundits, the project has been recently moving along nicely with key players like Intel and IBM contributing their own programmers and source code to the effort.
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by kamper on Mon 3rd Apr 2006 01:48 UTC in reply to "PS3"
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PS- Would there technically be any problem with an Apache JVM using GPL ClassPath .class-es? After all, they aren't linking to them, merely reading them, and in the case of JIT, compiling them but not distributing them. I really don't see the problem, but IANAL.

There would be no legal trouble with distributing classpath and harmony together. I'm about a month and a half behind on the dev mailing list reading, but to the best of my knowledge the classlib/vm interface used will be classpath compatible so it should be possible.

However, classpath will not be distributed as part of the project and so the combination will probably never be certifiable Java. They tried hard to come up with a way for Apache to distribute gpl'ed code, but the process was completely stalled when IBM and Intel came along and donated so much code and that was basically the end of it.

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RE[2]: PS3
by robilad on Mon 3rd Apr 2006 08:24 in reply to "RE: PS3"
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The process was stalled on a few things:

We waited for a few months for the ASF to come up with an official policy for licenses they consider to be OK for using in Apache projects. Depending on who one was listening in ASF rumourmill, it was not clear if they did or did not consider LGPL or GPL+linking exception to be good enough, as there was an ongoing intransparent internal discussion. So we were waiting for a few months to see how GPL+linking exception and LGPL will be judged. Eventually, we gave up waiting. That still has not happened, though there is a draft since a few weeks. It says they are not good enough, afaik.

We meanwhile contemplated dual licensing GNU Classpath, but the ASF does not like dual licenses. In particular, dual licenses with GPL-something on them would apparently be scary for some proprietary software companies' lawyers. Yay.

We then contemplated licensing parts of GNU Classpath under the MIT license, which would have been compatible with both the GPL and the Apache license. But the ASF does not like the MIT license since it doesn't talk about patents. Sigh.

We then contemplated licensing GNU Classpath under the Apache license, but that would not have worked for the GPLd VMs, since the Apache license is not compatible with the GPL, so we'd have screwed most of our VMs out of a class library, or forced them to relicense as well. Forcing many of our contributing VMs to undergo a cumbersome relicensing procedure to satisfy some licensing requirement of the ASF, which they had nothing to do with, did not seem like a great idea.

We contemplated convincing the ASF that GPL+linking exception is indeed a valid license, that is used by gcc's code that's statically linked into the Apache OS X web server binaries distributed from, as anyone with objdump, nm and grep can see. Unfortunately, Roy Fielding, a big fish at the ASF, does not understand that GPL indeed allows additional permissions to be granted as special exceptions, but prohibits adding restrictions, so that went, quite predictably, nowhere.

Eventually, we figured out that trying to find a common way with the one true Apache Way didn't move either Harmony nor other projects forward, so the Classpath folks went back to finishing the last missing bits of GNU Classpath (and we'll have WW2D running for the next release, says Mark:, so that we can finish implementing Java 1.5 this year. Meanwhile, Harmony started getting some steam of its own, and getting some contributions from various places, which has been pretty nice to watch. I've been helping along with some small things, but eventually ended up focusing back on Kaffe, as that is far more rewarding.

While we didn't (yet) end up sharing code, due to policy choices at the ASF (and not because of legal reasons, you are free to mix and match both GNU Classpath and Harmony), the work on Harmony had some pretty nice side effects: it helped make sure that the FSF fixes the incompatibility issue between the ASL2 and GPL in GPL3, and it also made sure that the FSF explicitely clarifies that adding permissions as special exceptions to GPL3 is really, honestly OK.

That may allow Harmony to use those libraries, if the Apache licensing gods can make sense of the GPL3. It's very, very hard to tell in advance.

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