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[Classpathx-xml] Re: [dom4j-dev] GNU JAXP license violation

From: Scott Sanders
Subject: [Classpathx-xml] Re: [dom4j-dev] GNU JAXP license violation
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 12:05:55 -0800

On Nov 4, 2004, at 5:15 AM, Elliotte Harold wrote:

dom4j appears to be in violation of the GNUJAXP License unless it has special permission from the FSF. Does it?

It may be, but since it is being brought up, it looks as if the GNU JAXP project is in violation of the Aelfred license as well. See below.

Specifically the latest release of dom4j (and probably earlier releases) has taken the code from GNU JAXP, *modified it*, and incorporated it into its code base which is published under a BSD license. They are not merely linking to the GPL code as permitted by the GPL with library exception.

The modifications are probably not major. The only one I know of is changing the package name to org.dom4j.aelfred and org.dom4j.aelfred2 instead of gnu.jaxp.aelfred/gnu.jaxp.aelfred2 though there may be others. I suspect the problem might be able to be cured by linking to the unmodified gnujaxp.jar instead of incorporating the Gnu code directly in the dom4j code base.

After looking at the code, the package names are[aelfred|aelfred2], just to be correct. Upon first look, the package package looks as if it just a straight copy of the Aelfred code, which is not under the GPL, so that looks fine.

The package, however contains the GPL headers in the code, so it looks as if dom4j is in violation. However, I would also say that the GNU JAXP project is in violation of the orignal license, as the changes made are not 'clearly documented'. Refer to the aelfred license, and the sentence stating: "You are free to modify AElfred for your own use and
// to redistribute AElfred with your modifications, provided that the
// modifications are clearly documented."

Are there any changes? If there are, dom4j is in violation as well as GNU JAXP. If there are no changes, then dom4j may just import the original non-GPL sources, and there are no violations.

Viewing the cvsweb for GNU JAXP, it seems that there are some changes.

Scott Sanders

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