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Re: Classpath licensing (Re: About the project)

From: Mark Wielaard
Subject: Re: Classpath licensing (Re: About the project)
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 15:07:55 +0100


On Sun, 2003-11-23 at 13:48, John Leuner wrote:
> I am copying this to the jazzlib and classpath MLs to get some other
> peoples' opinions on the Classpath license and how it should apply in a
> case like this.

Best is to direct such questions to address@hidden The FSF is the
official copyright holder of Classpath and sets the distribution terms.

> > My company makes commercial software. And, I work to make a module
> > which makes a zip file from files by Java.
> > 
> > So, I want to use your library. But I read the license at the
> > homepage(
> > 
> > I think the license on your homepage means that I can use the library
> > freely and I don’t need to obey the GPL license 
> No, the license says you MUST obey the GPL with one special exception
> ...
> > if I use the library only by means of called the library to make a
> > executable.
> If you combine jazzlib "with independent modules to produce an
> executable" you can "copy and distribute the resulting executable under
> terms of your choice".
> So you can use jazzlib in your program without changing the license of
> your commercial software.

I believe John his interpretation is correct, but see below.

> > For sure, if you can give me an answer for some questions, I am very
> > happy for it.
> > 
> > 1) If I use your library without change(source code) to make a
> > commercial ziputility, should I open my ziputility source code?
> The license says you must combine with "independent modules". If you
> write a commercial zip utility I am not sure that this other code will
> be "an independent module".

Best is to write with a clear example of how you plan do this and what
the distribution terms of the larger work are to address@hidden so
they can give advise on what is and isn't considered an independent

> > 2) If I should open my source code, is there other method not to do
> > this? For example, we can pay for the license.
> No, I doubt this is possible.

The FSF does sometimes make exceptions as long as the two goals of
preserving the free status of all derivatives of our free software and
of promoting the sharing and reuse of software generally can be
guaranteed. You should contact address@hidden if you think you can
satisfy those goals, but compliance with the current GNU Classpath
(jazzlib) distribution terms is problematic.

> > 3) If I use your library without change(source code) to make a
> > commercial ziputility, what I should do not to violate your license?
> I am not sure how to answer that, perhaps another developer can answer
> this question?

The FSF has a GPL-compliance lab which offers consulting services for
companies who are working to develop products that incorporate Free
Software so that they can do so in ways that comply with the terms of
the GPL and other Free Software licenses. If you are interested in this
service, please write a separate message to <address@hidden>.



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