[jdom-interest] JDOM license evaluation

Jason Hunter jhunter at apache.org
Thu May 17 15:09:31 PDT 2001

> I passed the JDOM license onto our corporate legal dept., and got this
> risk evaluation:
> 1. No warranty:  JDOM software is provided "as-is".  If it doesn't
> work, you have no recourse.

This is a standard clause in all software licenses.  The advantage of
open source is that you can independently verify a product's behavior by
looking at the source.  When Microsoft provides you with Word "as-is"
you have to hope they aren't hiding a back door.  Here if you want to
reduce risk, have an engineer white box test the code.

> 2. No indemnity:  You have no protection against intellectual property
> claims against the JDOM software.  If a patent claim is brought
> against JDOM code, <the company> is subject to unlimited liability for
> infringement.  <the company> may have limited liability clauses with
> our customers that might limit our exposure for what we sell, but <the
> company> faces unlimited liability for what <the company> makes.
> (Commercial code provides <the company> with indemnities that allow
> <the company> to escape such liability to certain extents.)

We have no patents on anything in JDOM.  Who knows if IBM does?  They
have patents on everything.  The risk of violating an IBM patent by
using JDOM is no greater than the risk of violating an IBM patent by
writing your own software.

> 3. No Support:  Support for JDOM software may become a big problem
> once a <the company> product is introduced to market and its design
> team is reassigned to other projects.

No support, but still you got an answer to your query in about 15
minutes.  And for free!  Try that with a commercial vendor.

Plus you have the code, so worst case you hire an engineer to take full
ownership of the product!  There's lots of experts on this list who you
could pay and not even need to train!


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