Not logged in
Log in now
Create an account
Subscribe to LWN
LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 20, 2013
Pencil, Pencil, and Pencil
Dividing the Linux desktop
LWN.net Weekly Edition for June 13, 2013
A report from pgCon 2013
All rights reserved
Posted Jan 17, 2013 16:45 UTC (Thu) by rcweir (subscriber, #48888)
Start with the terms of the SGA as stated here:
Then look at the README file in the root of the contributed code:
As stated there, the license headers clue you in on which specific files were contributed under the SGA. Ironically, the same text that some are expressing so much angst about is the same text that allows anyone to see what the contribution is. Go figure.
If it is not clear whether the code is suitable for your particular use, then it is your responsibility to get competent advice. But all the data you need is right there.
Posted Jan 17, 2013 16:54 UTC (Thu) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
"Grant of Copyright License. Subject to the terms and conditions
of this Agreement, You hereby grant to the Foundation and to
recipients of software distributed by the Foundation a perpetual,
worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable
copyright license to reproduce, prepare derivative works of,
publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute
Your Contributions and such derivative works."
That's fine as long as the Foundation is distributing the work, but from another comment by you:
"These files have not been published by Apache"
which leaves open the question of what distribution actually is in this case - I'd have thought that having the code in svn would count as distribution, but I'd also have thought it counted as publishing. It'd be straightforward for the ASF to make the situation completely unambiguous.
Posted Jan 17, 2013 17:18 UTC (Thu) by rcweir (subscriber, #48888)
Generally, an SGA gives sufficient rights for project members to work on the code and prepare it for release. If you want to help with that then we'd welcome your help. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and introduce yourself. However, if your needs require code only after it has been reviewed, tested, and voted on as an Apache release, then I'll be equally happy to hear from you then.
Posted Jan 17, 2013 17:25 UTC (Thu) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
Posted Jan 17, 2013 17:42 UTC (Thu) by rcweir (subscriber, #48888)
If you have a question for the ASF, then why don't you ask them? They have a legal discussion mailing list where you are free to ask them about what an SGA means. But I do know that they value transparency and would probably not be keen on answering questions on pay-walled websites from anonymous posters.
Posted Jan 17, 2013 17:46 UTC (Thu) by malor (subscriber, #2973)
Posted Jan 17, 2013 17:57 UTC (Thu) by dashesy (subscriber, #74652)
Posted Jan 17, 2013 20:53 UTC (Thu) by jubal (subscriber, #67202)
Posted Jan 21, 2013 8:20 UTC (Mon) by ceplm (guest, #41334)
Posted Feb 1, 2013 1:03 UTC (Fri) by mema (guest, #89121)
The donation of the Symphony code to Apache was noted both by IBM, Apache, and even Meeks at his blog.
Since when is a donation, nothing? Only when IBM does it and its not under the GPL?
Posted Feb 3, 2013 21:26 UTC (Sun) by ceplm (guest, #41334)
My problem is with the people kind-of-relasing code under uncertain situation and not willing to clear it up. I cannot help myself but to feel that there is some attempt to keep the copyright status unclear so that the codebase they have no control over cannot profit from their code. Which seems to me to be against the spirit of all open source movement stands for. Just to be completely clear, and I am very much hoping I am wrong in my feelings, and the situation will settle quite quickly.
Posted Jan 17, 2013 17:33 UTC (Thu) by mjw (subscriber, #16740)
For the original files contributed by Oracle this took a very long time to sort through all the files by an Oracle employee to double check Oracle really had the right to do that for all the files mentioned in the software grant and/or had to ask to have additional files added to the grant. Only IBM knows how much work that really would be for the symphony files.
Posted Jan 17, 2013 17:46 UTC (Thu) by rcweir (subscriber, #48888)
That is a policy statement, not a legal statement.
This is an important distinction. For example, an Apache project can not release software containing GPL code. That is a policy requirement. But legally, anyone else, outside of Apache, is free to mix ALv2 and GPL code together, if that suits their needs. The licenses are compatible in that way.
You should not confuse the stricter policy requirements incumbent on an Apache project versus what the license permits any random person to do.
Posted Jan 17, 2013 17:52 UTC (Thu) by malor (subscriber, #2973)
It doesn't have to be in every header; a simple document, just like IBM's, would be enough. Something along the lines of "This code is released to the general public under the terms of the Apache License v2", or whatever language you guys actually like to use.
Unless and until you explicitly release the code, it sure looks to me that IBM has given it to you, but not to us. I see no clear chain of permissions that would allow me to change and share that code freely.
Posted Jan 17, 2013 17:55 UTC (Thu) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
Well, kind of. Part of that license is a grant of permissions to anyone to whom that software is distributed by Apache. The question is what the precise meaning of "distribute" is in this case - we've already had an assertion that the code in question hasn't been published by Apache. In any case, Rob's right that this isn't the right venue for an authoritative answer, and so I've mailed the appropriate mailing list.
Copyright © 2013, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds