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Apache Software

Apache says ASL2.0 is GPL-compatible 384

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-of-course-they-do dept.
Steve Loughran writes "The ASF board have put up on the Apache Web site, a page rebutting claims that the new ASL2.0 license is incompatible with the GPL, claims made by on an FSF page and covered in Slashdot last week.The key points are (1) The interpretation of the GPL license is not just the opinions of individuals in the FSF, it is designed to be rigorously defendable in a court of law. (2) Rather than look at opinions about compatibility, people should look at the ASF2.0 and GPL licenses to see if they really are compatible. (3) If you look at the two licenses, they really are compatible. This means there is nothing to stop you linking your [L]GPL apps against apache libraries, shipping them with apache applications, and the like." Of course, this is still up to debate.
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Apache says ASL2.0 is GPL-compatible

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  • by sirReal.83. (671912) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:29PM (#8374969) Homepage
    1) The interpretation of the GPL license is not just the opinions of individuals in the FSF, it is designed to be rigorously defendable in a court of law.
    (2) Rather than look at opinions about compatibility, people should look at the ASF2.0 and GPL licenses to see if they really are compatible.
    (2) If you look at the two licenses, they really are compatible.


    I'd learn how to count first.
    • Point 2 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nuggz (69912) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:39PM (#8375103) Homepage
      Looks like point 2 is repeated with two different phrasings.
      Perhaps the following summary is more clear.

      2- Rather then listen to opinions, see for yourself. If you look at the two licenses they really are compatible.
    • by Alan Cox (27532) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:00PM (#8375348) Homepage
      The ASF statement actually is really useful, because in essence they are saying they think its GPL compatible, so there are no issues on their side.

      Its irrelevant however because Apache is built upon a set of non GPL compliant libraries like OpenSSL and always has been. "Apache 2.0 not GPL", well big deal: Apache 1.0 not GPL either.

      You can probably build a non https:// Apache without a few other modules that is GPLable but everyone I've dealt with seems quite happy with the state of apache and the license it uses right now.

      This is very different to the XFree 4.4 case where the rules got changed on people.

      Its very much like "Windows 98 not GPL".. not news.

      • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:15PM (#8375526) Homepage Journal
        ``You can probably build a non https:// Apache without a few other modules that is GPLable but everyone I've dealt with seems quite happy with the state of apache and the license it uses right now.''

        Or even one that does https using GNU TLS [gnu.org].

        Personally, I read the ASL2.0 to be GPL-incompatible, due to extra requirements for distribution. I don't care much, though. If you want to link stuff with Apach, it's Apache-specific anyway, so giving it an Apache-specific license wouldn't hurt too much.
        • by Jason Earl (1894) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @03:14PM (#8376354) Homepage Journal

          The problem is when you want to take some code that is already licensed under the GPL and combine it with ASL2.0 licensed code. All of a sudden you have a tool that compiles and works well, but can't be legally distributed.

          The fact of the matter is that the FSF controls the copyrights to a big fat pile of source code, and if they say that derivatives of their GPLed source can't be combined with ASL2.0 source and legally distributed, then folks are going to listen to the FSF.

          Since the FSF has a long history of not changind their stance on what is GPL-compatible there is an equally long history of projects changing their licenses to get the FSF blessing. Being cut off from using the millions of lines of FSF GPLed code is simply too big a deal. The Python license is a good example, as is the old QPL license (that QT used to use).

        • If you want to link stuff with Apach, it's Apache-specific anyway, [...]

          Not true. If you're thinking of the Apache HTTP Server, then you're right, but the ASF is hosting far more software by now, including lots of great libraries. For example, as a Java developer, I regularly use packages developed as part of Apache's Jakarta project. Their logging libraries (Log4J etc.) are also quite widely used, as is for example the Xerces XML parser. I'm sure some of these libraries are also interesting for people who

      • by Marc Slemko (6200) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:15PM (#8375529)

        Have you, erm, looked at the Apache Software Foundation project list [apache.org] lately?

        This isn't just about a license for the Apache HTTP server. In fact, it isn't even just about ASF projects either, since it offers independent developers a new choice of license to easily release their code under.

      • OK, supposing that you took the ASF's statement as good enough and distributed their code under the GPL. You might have a solid legal basis to do so (doctrine of estoppel or whatever - IANAL).

        But what happens if a third party makes some change to Apache and releases it under the Apache licence? You would also need that third party's written statement to distribute the whole under the GPL. Whereas if the Apache licence were more obviously and transparently GPL-compatible, such that it didn't need these d
  • You know what ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:29PM (#8374975) Homepage Journal
    If there's a debate at all, it's not worth wasting your time thinking about it.

    This is why people like the BSD license.

    This is why OpenBSD forks code when others play stupid license tricks. If anyone has to think about what a license might mean, then they're not busy fixing bugs. Pseudo-Clever-Licensing keeps lawyers happy and programmers unproductive.

    • Re:You know what ? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Syberghost (10557) <syberghost@NospAM.syberghost.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:42PM (#8375137) Homepage
      If there's a debate at all, it's not worth wasting your time thinking about it.

      Totally agree, but:

      This is why people like the BSD license.

      Like BSD has never had licensing issues wind up in court.
    • This is why people like the BSD license.

      Because they don't mind donating their work to Microsoft for free? Personally, I love it when Microsoft encorporates some of my work into their software... but I figure they can afford to pay me for it.

      • Re:You know what ? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bmajik (96670)
        People that write software under the BSD license don't care who uses it for what. They enjoyed writing something; they may think it's pretty good; and by extension, they may think lots of people can benefit from it.

        Consider this - if you beleive MS writes shitty software, wouldn'y you want them using as much BSD code as possible ? wouldn't that help standards compliance ? Wouldn't that help make MS's products less bad ? Wouldn't that inturn make life better for everyone ?

        or is your argument basically
        • Re:You know what ? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by El (94934) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:00PM (#8375351)
          Consider this - if you beleive MS writes shitty software, wouldn'y you want them using as much BSD code as possible ? Yes. But apparently in going from NT4.0 to Win2K, they rewrote most of the BSD-derived TCP code to make it less compatible with other BSD Sockets based apps. wouldn't that help standards compliance ? How does that stop them from "embracing and extending" the protocols once they have the source? Remember how Microsoft "adopting" Kerboros for SMB authentication, but perverted one of unused fields so it wouldn't work with anybody else's servers? Giving them a no-strings-attached implementation just makes their job of "embrace and extend" that much easier. Wouldn't that help make MS's products less bad ? Yes, it has in the past... until they rewrite the code. Wouldn't that inturn make life better for everyone ? Wouldn't it be better for everyone if we all had one government, one religion, one software? Personally, the fact that I have to make so many choices every time I go to the grocery store really pisses me off... we'd all be off if there was only one food vendor!
    • Re:You know what ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by albalbo (33890) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:49PM (#8375221) Homepage

      "Pseudo-clever-licensing" keeps programmers out of court, dude. Apache's patent termination clause will make patent litigators think twice before bringing frivilous lawsuits. Like it or not, licences are incredibly important, and it's good to see Apache put as much effort into it as the FSF have.

      For what it's worth, the official FSF response to the ASL2.0 licence is here, by Eben Moglen [apache.org]. Then Apache changed the licence under review. It's possible the FSF webmasters have not realised this, and that the comment applies only to the licence Eben reviewed (which was not the final ASL2.0). So, we could actually be arguing over nothing.

      • Re:You know what ? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Ken D (100098) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:27PM (#8375680)
        My read of the revised license [IANAL] is that it isn't compatible. Apache makes several bogus arguments, namely: 1) Our software doesn't have patents anyway; and 2) ASL(3) is comparable to GPL(7).

        Argument (1) is bogus because other people can release software under the ASL. For example Bob & Mimi can release their (individually patented) package under the ASL, and you have a grant under the ASL to USE and redistribute.

        Argument (2) is bogus because when you sue Bob for violating your software patent, you can no longer USE Mimi's portion of the software without violating her patent.

        GPL Clause 7 only talks about REDISTRIBUTION. So if this had been GPL software, you would no longer distribute because you'd be distributing what you claim to be your patented technology, but you could still USE it.
  • interpretation of the GPL license is not just the opinions of individuals in the FSF

    A most excellent point.

  • by bad enema (745446) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:31PM (#8375003)
    So now Linux users can baske themselves in the glow of online dating too?

    That's what I call progress!
  • by bc90021 (43730) * <bc90021&bc90021,net> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:32PM (#8375016) Homepage

    The Apache License, Version 1.0.
    This is a simple, permissive non-copyleft free software license with practical problems like those of the original BSD license, including incompatibility with the GNU GPL.

    The Apache License, Version 1.1.
    This is a permissive non-copyleft free software license with a few requirements that render it incompatible with the GNU GPL.

    We urge you not to use the Apache licenses for software you write. However, there is no reason to avoid running programs that have been released under this license, such as Apache.


    It also says that versions 1.0 and 1.1 of the ASF License are incompatible... why are we only hearing about this with version 2.0?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In the hypothetical situation in which the APL is determined to be incompatible with the GPL, you could still link (L)GPL apps to Apache project code, because the Apache code would effectively be distributed under two licenses--the APL, and a slightly modified APL to make it GPL-compatible. They say as much by admitting that you can use Apache project code in GPL'd projects.
  • Stinging... (Score:5, Informative)

    by robslimo (587196) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:33PM (#8375035) Homepage Journal
    Wow, that (the actual linked article) is a very stinging reply to the comment on FSF's site. It hits home (lambasting people on Slashdot for bitching before getting their facts straight) and was way overdue.

    According to the article, the comment that caused such a ruckus has not been attributed to any official at FSF and not been communicated to Apache by the FSF.

    • But it not just the folks at the FSF who aren't fond of the new license. OpenBSD is apparently not going to include anything [neohapsis.com] licensed under the APL 2.0. Mr. de Raadt says...

      The new apache license is not acceptable. Code written under that new license will never go into our tree. Look, I am quite frankly getting sick and tired of this. It is time for the user community to tell these software developers who have gotten themselves involved with lawyers to stop it. They are NOT making their software better

  • by G4from128k (686170) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:35PM (#8375057)
    IANAL, but why can't the Apache people add a clause to their license that explicitly proclaims compatibility with some rev of GPL? If the compatiblity clause supercedes other clauses in Apache's license, then there really is no legal grounds for anyone later proclaiming that they are incompatible.

    I never trust people that say "trust me, the contract can be interpreted in the way that you want it to." If someone wants a legal document to have a particular property, then the document should explicitly state that it has that property. But again, IANAL.
    • by Znork (31774) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:24PM (#8375637)
      Because what the Apache license says isnt what is at issue. The Apache license could claim GPL compatiblity until it turns blue, but as long as the GPL isnt compatible with it you cant distribute GPL code together with, and linked to it.

      Say John writes some Apache licensed code, and Jim writes some GPL covered code. Then Joe comes along, takes Jim's code, writes an Apache module that includes Jim's code (after all, the Apache license says it's ok). Joe's module becomes popular and gets included in the big distributions.

      At that point, however, Jim gets an offer he cant refuse from our darling Darl, and promptly sues every Linux distributor he can think of for copyright infringement since he doesnt consider the GPL terms on distributing his code fulfilled.

      So, are you feeling lucky today?
      • by j7953 (457666) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:58PM (#8379994)
        Say John writes some Apache licensed code, and Jim writes some GPL covered code. Then Joe comes along, takes Jim's [GPLed] code, writes an Apache module that includes Jim's code (after all, the Apache license says it's ok). Joe's module becomes popular and gets included in the big distributions.

        Then, to comply with the GPL, they must license the Apache package as a whole under the GPL. You're correct, the Apache folks claim that the Apache License allows that.

        At that point, however, Jim gets an offer he cant refuse from our darling Darl, and promptly sues every Linux distributor he can think of for copyright infringement since he doesnt consider the GPL terms on distributing his code fulfilled.

        Umm, no. See above. To fulfill the conditions of the GPL, the distribution as a whole has to be under the GPL, so there's nothing Jim could complain about. The only one who could potentially sue here is John (who wrote the Apache-licensed code), if he doesn't consider the terms of the Apache License for his code fulfilled by the distribution under the GPL.

        So there is a risk only if the GPL does not fulfill all of the Apache License's requirements. This is what is meant by the term "GPL compatibility": that a license contains only requirements that are also fulfilled by the GPL, so it is possible to distribute that code under the GPL.

        The ASF says that this is the case, so if their reading of the licenses is correct, there is no risk.

        But I'm not sure the ASF's statement is correct. The Apache License 2.0 contains a patent termination clause that might also affect the use of the program. The GPL clause, on the other hand, only talks about distribution. I am not a lawyer, so I don't think I'm qualified to judge whether or not the license is GPL compatible. But I won't be convinced by the ASF's statement before I have heard some reply from someone at the FSF who is qualified and thinks different.

  • vice-versa (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rmohr02 (208447) <<ude.uso> <ta> <24.rhom>> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:36PM (#8375067)
    Is the GPL APL-compatible? Is the GPL compatible with /any/ other license? No. However, the FSF makes a big deal whenever they think that an open source license isn't GPL-compatible.
    • Re:vice-versa (Score:3, Insightful)

      by albalbo (33890)
      Um, by definition, any licence that is compatible with the GPL is an equal partner in the composition, so therefore the GPL must be compatible with that licence.

      Not that the facts might get in the way of your argument, of course.
      • I think what the original poster meant was that you can't include GPL code in say, a bsd project. But you can do vice versa, because the bsd/mit licenses tend to be much more 'free'/liberal than the GPL. It was a good point imho.
        • Re:vice-versa (Score:3, Informative)

          by albalbo (33890)
          Of course, you can include GPL code in a BSD project. The licences are compatible. What you may not do is re-licence that GPL code as BSD. But - and this is what most people fail to understand - when you include BSD code into a GPL project, that BSD code isn't relicensed as GPL code.

          The situation is exactly the same - if you have compatible licences, you can use that software together. I don't see the point there at all, I'm afraid.
          • The BSD license is less restrictive than the GPL, so you are free to relicense BSD code under the GPL. It is still available under a less restrictive license elsewhere, but you are not required to keep it available under that license.
            • Where on earth did you hear this? Of course you cannot relicence the code, you're not the copyright holder. Only the copyright holder can relicence code. Yes, BSD has fewer requirements than the GPL, NO, that absolutely does not mean you can change it to another licence if you don't like the terms of it.

              So... is there any copyright theft you want to own up to now?
        • You can combine GPL and BSDL (new version) code and distribute the results.

          > But you can do vice versa, because the bsd/mit
          > licenses tend to be much more 'free'/liberal than
          > the GPL.

          Basically, you can add restrictions to derivative versions of BSDL and APL code, but not to derivatives of GPL code. Whether the ability to add restrictions make something more or less free is a matter of definition.
      • By "GPL-compatible", I mean a license from which I can take covered code and add it to a GPL'd product. By "APL-compatible", I mean a license from which I can take covered code and add it to a GPL'd product.

        Can I take code released under the APL and put it in a GPL'd product? That's under debate. However, I can take code from several other open source licenses and put them in a GPL'd product.

        Can I take code released under the GPL and re-release it using /any/ other license, including the APL? No. The
        • Can I take code released under the GPL and re-release it using /any/ other license, including the APL? No.

          Yeah, that's right.. name a licence which does allow that. Oh, you can't? Never mind.

    • Is the GPL compatible with
      any other license?
      Here is a list of GPL compatible licenses. [fsf.org].
      • That's GPL-compatible licenses. I still cannot take GPL'd code and release it under another license. For instance, the GPL isn't BSD-compatible.
        • Re:Untrue (Score:3, Informative)

          by albalbo (33890)
          You cannot take code under X licence and release it under Y.

          (Fill in the licence).

          Seriously, I don't think you understand how licences work.
    • Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

      by mcc (14761)
      The GPL is compatible with any license less restrictive than it is.

      The FSF makes a big deal whenever they think that an open source license isn't GPL-compatible because that is their job. They are responsible for maintaining and promoting the GPL and thus people look to them for definitive answers on what exactly what the GPL's place in the world is and what licenses it is and isn't compatible with.
    • Re:vice-versa (Score:3, Informative)

      by tverbeek (457094)
      Is the GPL compatible with /any/ other license? No.

      Um, not that theirs is the final word or anything, but the FSF considers the following licences compatible with the GPL [fsf.org]:

      • LGPL (duh)
      • Guile's
      • GNU ADA compiler runtimes'
      • X11 (not to be confused with the XFree 4.4 licence)
      • Expat (aka "MIT")
      • Standard ML of New Jersey
      • public domain
      • Cryptix General
      • current BSD
      • Zlib
      • iMatix Standard Function Library
      • W3C
      • Sleepycat/Berkeley DB
      • current OpenLDAP
      • current (and early) Python
      • Perl (when not Artistic 1.0)
      • Artistic 2.0
      • Zope
      • Re:vice-versa (Score:4, Interesting)

        by circusnews (618726) <steven@ste[ ]santos.com ['ven' in gap]> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @05:19PM (#8377884) Homepage
        No, code that is released under these licences may be included in GPL projects:

        GPL (duh)
        LGPL (duh)
        Guile's
        GNU ADA compiler runtimes'
        X11 (not to be confused with the XFree 4.4 licence)
        Expat (aka "MIT")
        Standard ML of New Jersey
        public domain
        Cryptix General
        current BSD
        Zlib
        iMatix Standard Function Library
        W3C
        Sleepycat/Berkeley DB
        current OpenLDAP
        current (and early) Python
        Perl (when not Artistic 1.0)
        Artistic 2.0
        Zope 2.0
        Intel Open Source
        Netscape Javascript
        eCos 2.0
        Eiffel 2.0
        current Vim

        Code released under the GPL may be included in projects with thse liceances:

        GPL
        • flawed analysis (Score:4, Informative)

          by Xtifr (1323) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:22PM (#8378733) Homepage
          Code released under the GPL may be included in projects with thse liceances:

          GPL


          Nope. Or to be more precise, that's only partially true. The project as a whole must be considered to be under the GPL if portions are GPL'd, but portions that are not GPL'd, but are merely under a compatible license, are still under that compatible license. Thus (practical actual working real-world example here), I have a project that is BSD'd except for one module (an EMACS connector) that is GPL'd. Thus, the whole thing is distributed under the terms of the GPL, but the module is completely separate, and if you delete it, what you are left with is a BSD'd project. If the GPL prevented this, I would have to distribute the module separately, which would be stupid and pointless, but it doesn't, so I don't.
  • by sirket (60694) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:36PM (#8375071)
    You just know that the author of the Apache rebuttal page wanted to end his analysis with: "So get bent."

    Apache is a pretty good piece of software and if folks don't like the new license, well that's just tough. They have a right to license their code however they choose to. The people who write to them and tell them otherwise really do need to drop off the planet.

    -sirket
  • by sirReal.83. (671912) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:38PM (#8375091) Homepage
    ... Is an ignorant statement. Some authors decide to release their code under a certain license, and people bitch. If ASL doesn't play nice with the GPL, that is unfortunate... and we might have to look at something else. Then again, Apache 1.x is working great as far as I can tell. But these license zealots whining about how the "BSD/ASL/XFree/GPL sucks" are really just ignorant. If I write some code, and don't want it to be sucked up by a profit-making corporation without my consent, and without recieving any credit, that's my own fucking business! By the same token, if I want my code to be able to be used by whomever wants it, again, that's my own fucking business!
    • So, something is clearly wrong with the state of the world. Take a second, and go read the FSF License List page [fsf.org]. Look at how many licenses there are there. Look at how many libraries/packages/applications have their own specific license.

      For the incompatible licenses, you see some big names there. OpenSSL, BSD, Apache, xinetd, Mozilla, LaTeX, Sun, PHP, and Apple. I know some pretty hardcore FSF zealots, and they use OpenSSL, Apache, and Mozilla, just to name a few. Clearly these products and their g

  • by jaaron (551839) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:39PM (#8375095) Homepage
    One of the major advantages of the ASL 2.0 is that it is now easier for non-ASF projects to use the ASL. Previously you had to use an ASL-like license because unless you wanted to assign your copyright to the ASF you needed to adjust the wording of the license to include your name and your organization. The new license removes that information from the license itself and instead places it in a NOTICE file. This allows other open source projects to take advantage of the ASL and use it for their own organization.

    While the ASL 2.0 is longer than the ASL 1.1, it's worth a read. A lot of effort was made to make this an easy license to adopt and use. If you're currently using a MIT or BSD style license, you may want to consider the new ASL 2.0.

    • Previously you had to use an ASL-like license because unless you wanted to assign your copyright to the ASF you needed to adjust the wording of the license to include your name and your organization.


      I think it shouldn't be too much trouble for you to 1) read the license you are attaching to your software and 2) be able to adapt it to your needs. It's like complaining that the pre-printed rental contract you bought at the stationary shop already didn't have your name and address printed on it.
  • Great. Now running GNU over Power Lines interferes with Apache. Just wait until the HAMS who run amateur radio websites hear about this.

    Oh...wait...
  • by clintp (5169) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:43PM (#8375148)
    Programmers get irritated with management, sales, supervisors, and especially users when they can't write a specification for us to write programs. We bitch because they're vague and contradictory. They change their minds, can't decide what they want, and try to please all the wrong people with all of the wrong features.

    As someone who empathises with users trying to get a workable program, these kinds of license wars crack me up. The next time you complain about the spec being inadaquate or changing: remember that programmers too are mostly incapable of expressing what they want in English and pleasing all of their masters.
  • I wonder if there'd be any value in an "Open Source Constitution", which could serve as the bedrock against which issues such as this could be judged by the community.

    Or, does the GPL already serve essentially the same purpose?

  • by swb (14022) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:50PM (#8375230)
    This is off-topic, but...

    Most of the software licenses (BSD, GPL, etc) debated here have their basic origins in copyright and ideas about intellectual property that are distinctly American/European in origin.

    Is there any such thing or is anyone aware of software licensing schemes that are more organically based on non-Western ideas of intellectual property or copyright concepts?

    The western bias of these licenses makes sense in that they're primarily issued and used in western countries, and hence, need to be oriented towards western IP and copyright models.

    But as software development and usage grows in places like China and India, will we see PPL (People's Public License) or IPL (Indian Public License) with terms or concepts different than GPL/BSD, etc?
    • But as software development and usage grows in places like China and India, will we see PPL (People's Public License) or IPL (Indian Public License) with terms or concepts different than GPL/BSD, etc?

      By using this software you are agreeing that any violation of the licensing terms will result in your entire family being imprisoned.

      Sory, bad joke, couldn't resist.

  • by trims (10010) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:50PM (#8375233) Homepage

    Now, I usually don't get this annoyed, but we've gone through a bunch of these recently, and I'm sick of it.

    The GPL is not Holy Scripture

    The GPL is nice. It works for a large amount of stuff. However, it very much does NOT work for many other things, even in the Open Source world. I don't (and you shouldn't) want everything to be GPL'd. The GPL has a LOT of problems, freedom to copy aside. It is definitely not suitable for every purpose, given our current legal framework.

    We should measure a license by how obnoxious and restrictive it is, not some idiot litmus test of GPL-compatibility. I prefer that we gravitate to a small number of general licenses for simplicity's sake, but there is no real good reason that they all HAVE to be GPL-compatible, any more than they all HAVE to be BSD-compatible.

    The various ASL versions are all very benign and nice BSD-ish licenses, that may or may not be GPL compatible. They have very liberal code reuse and copying provisions, and very few restrictions. If they are GPL-incompatible, well, then, that's life. I'm not going to get angry over this, any more than I get upset because I can't use GPL libraries with my proprietary code.

    Please quite focusing on the idiotic minutia, and pay attention to the hard issues of license lock-in and IP coralling prevelant in software licensing today.

    -Erik

    • GPL, BSD, ASL, and other open source licenses protect software IP as well so you need to deal with them if you want to solve the problems with license lock-ins and IP coralling prevelant in software licensing today.
    • These people care (Score:3, Insightful)

      by roystgnr (4015)
      GPL Projects [freshmeat.net]. There's about 16,000 listed on Freshmeat, and some of them include some good code which should be reused in other projects if possible.

      If the new Apache license is GPL compatible, then source code released under that license can be redistributed linked to GPL code. If not, then to redistribute such a combined work you have to have either special permission from the authors of any GPLed components to put additional restrictions on their code or special permission from the authors of the non-
    • It's not about the GPL being holy scripture. It is about being able to take code from GPLed projects and combine then with code from ASL licensed projects. If these two licenses aren't compatible then the resulting derivative work can't be distributed legally.

      The reason that this is a problem for Apache is that there is a *lot* of GPLed code out there. In fact, last I checked there are quite a few GPLed Apache modules. Now these modules can't be distributed with Apache.

      The problem with licensing iss

  • Of course, this is still up to debate

    I think is not debatable. Of course I could be wrong. What others think about this is not just the opinions of individuals, so I should not care what you think. But your opinion is important. Really.
  • by El (94934) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:51PM (#8375250)
    SCO apparently beleives the GPL is SCO License compatible... which just goes to show what somebody thinks doesn't mean jack until you test it in court.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:54PM (#8375280)
    Here's what Linux Torvalds said when asked if he wished he'd chosen a different license the GPL:

    Absolutely not. I personally think that the BSD license is a dead end for serious projects, since it inevitably results in forking with no way to re-join if it becomes commercially viable.

    Forking a project is in my opinion hugely important, since forks are how all real development gets done, and the ability to fork keeps everybody honest (i.e. if you don't do a good job and keep your users happy, they can always fork the project and go on their own). But equally important is the ability to join back forks, when/if some group finds the right solution to a problem. And that's where the GPL comes in: you can really think of the whole license as nothing more than a requirement to be able to re-join a forked project from either side.


    • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:33PM (#8375754) Journal
      In this particular instance I agree with Linus. However, it is very annoying that whenever there is an argument some one always posts Linus' opinion and presents it as THE ANSWER. He's just one famous nerd. Nothing more. You know what the buddists say.. If you meet Buddha waking down the road Kill Him. He will only be a distraction on your road to enlightement.
  • I don't think so... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms@nOspam.infamous.net> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @01:56PM (#8375305) Homepage

    Certainly they're right that the text of the licence, not the opinion of the FSF, is what matters. However, they seem to not understand their own licence:

    The Apache License says that if you claim the Apache software contains something that is not licensed free for everyone (i.e., specifically, you accuse someone of infringing your patent which implies that your patent is not free for everyone), then you can't use the Apache License as a defense against your own infringements.

    Actually, the Apache License says more than that. It says "any patent licenses granted to You under this License for that Work shall terminate" if you file certain lawsuits. Without patent licenses, in theory you can't even run the software. (Which is why software patents are evil, stupid, and must be destroyed.)

    The Apache License can take away your right to use the software by revoking patent licenses (admittedly, only if you behave like a scumbag, but that's beside the point).This is what is not permitted under the GPL. The GPL states "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein"; a license that says "you can't use this software if you behave like a scumbag and file patent lawsuits" is not compatible with this requirement.

    Again, it's not necessarily a bad idea (as the FSF page notes). But it is not GPL-compatible.

  • by j-turkey (187775)

    Wow...Age/Sex/Location -- now finally GPL friendly. Now I can finally meet people in AOL chatrooms without all of the propritary headache! ;)

  • The GPL is not just the agenda of an extremist code liberty organisation. It's also the basic constitution of a large part of the Internet.

    The fact that Apache has been moving towards a GPL-compatible license and away from the more open earlier licenses shows that there is a desire to benefit from some of the protection that the GPL offers.

    (As a free software author, I've made the same move from liberal BSD-style licenses to the GPL in the last years, swayed in part by Stallman's argument that anything less than the GPL helps commercial competitors more than open source developers.)

    The compatibility of these two licenses is essential if we're to see Apache smoothly integrated into wider GPL'd frameworks.

    The FSF appears quite flexible in considering changes to the GPL for future versions, and I suspect the Apache Group are important enough to push through what they need.

    It's an important discussion and one I'll be following.
  • by cleetus (123553) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:06PM (#8375416) Homepage
    ...than that of either the FSF or the ASF: the opinion of the copyright holder of the software. Granted, the copyrights to alot of important softwore have been deeded to the FSF, and thus, their opinion matters with regard to that software.

    however, the key to all of this is that only the copyright holder to a piece of software can decide to bring a lawsuit. Thus, if the copyright holder thinks the licenses are compatible, then they damn well are (in that case only).

    Bottom line: contact whoever owns the copyright to the software you want to use if you have any questions about your rights under the ASL or GPL.

    cleetus
    (a soon to be lawyer)
  • by Tim[m] (5411) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:22PM (#8375615) Homepage

    So the disagreement is over whether clause 6 of the GPL:

    6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this License.

    applies to the patent grant. Does "rights granted herein" refer to the rights in clause 6 ("...copy, distribute, or modify...") or to all rights mentioned in the license?

  • by ChaoticCoyote (195677) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:29PM (#8375700) Homepage

    I've been arguing parts of this issue since late last week, when I was contacted by members of Apache Cocoon [apache.org] in regard to their use of my software, Jisp [coyotegulch.com].

    A few months back, I began migrating all of my "free" software from the libpng/zlib license to the GPL. Let's not get into the reasons why I made the change; the change is made, and I'm pleased with it.

    The Cocoon people discovered my license change, and opened a dialog. In their view, my use of GPL would force them to remove Jisp from Cocoon. They requested that I either change my license or add Jisp to the Apache collective. Beyond a few miscommunications, the discussion was pleasant and educational.

    My software remains under the GPL (or a commercial license, for those so inclined). I did not want to join Apache, as I have already committed myself to FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) projects that are more closely aligned with my business and personal interests. I did not want to "give" Jisp to Apache, either, given that I have several paying customers who might be uncomfortable with such a move --and my personal interest in keep Jisp a small, one-man project.

    In the end, Cocoon may not even need Jisp , rendering this an intellectual debate as opposed to a practical one.

    Most of Cocoon's members were quite polite; a few were quite pushy and arrogant, although some of that may be due to the crossing of language barriers. In the end, I think we've reached a point of mutual respect. People can disagree on these issues, and remain friends.

    Licensing issues are rapidly approaching the contentiousness of fundamentalist religion; people are Balkanizing the FOSS world over the finer points of dogma, rather than building a common framework in which we can all thrive.

  • by Carl (12719) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:30PM (#8375718) Homepage
    It seems that the Apache hackers and FSF hackers are finally talking. See the request for more info from Eben Moglen plus is explanation why he thinks there is an issue with the patent retaliation clause:
    Email message from Eben Moglen on license-discuss [crynwr.com]

    But why do they do this through public statements on their webpages and/or public mailinglists. Can't these people lookup each other phone number? Really, if I honestly needed an opinion on something which seems so important as this from either the FSF or the Apache Foundation I would call them up (or send a private email) asking to discuss this in person to clear up any confusion that might result from random statements on some website and/or mailinglist. Neither the FSF or Apache did the community as a whole a service by not trying to talk this out first before publishing all these statements about each other.

  • by MisterFancypants (615129) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:52PM (#8376000)
    When people look at the failures of OSS/FS, they seldom mention licening issues, despite the fact that these are one of the major barriers to OSS/FS adoption. If the people who are creating the licenses can't even agree on them being compatible or not, how is a company supposed to judge this? And if they can't judge this for sure, how do you expect them to use any of this software, when it potentially opens them up to legal risk?

    The OSS/FS movements really need to get their licensing 'ducks' in a row...

  • Heresy (Score:3, Funny)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @02:55PM (#8376046) Homepage Journal
    The interpretation of the GPL license is not just the opinions of individuals in the FSF... people should look at the ASF2.0 and GPL licenses to see if they really are compatible.

    Heresy! The GPL means exactly what RMS says it means. No more and no less. Suggesting that people should read the GPL for themselves, indeed! Next thing you know you'll be suggesting people read the Bible for themselves instead of trusting in the Pope!

It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. - Voltaire

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