[jdom-interest] Imcompatibility with GPL

Henttonen Katja Katja.Henttonen at vtt.fi
Fri Sep 29 03:18:58 PDT 2006

Many thanks to everyone for your point of views. I enjoyed following
this conversation.

>Well, without knowing the source in question, I think it'd be more 
>accurate to say "someone claimed this is not the case".

Yes, that had indeed been more accure. I meant no offence, but choose my
words badly. Calling JDOM an "XML parser" was an equally silly word
choise, but, yes, I believe I essentially understand what JDOM is.

It seems that the main problem, or should we say "problem", is that when
a project uses its own licence the combability is nearly always a matter
of debate. The whole combability hazzle is a shame, because most of seem
to agree that combining F/OSS code with other F/OSS code should be just

However, the project I am initiating is financed by my employer and
therefore "formal correctness" in legal matters has a lot of importance.
That's the downside of working for a big, govermental institute.  =)

So I had to switch to XOM, porting was (luckily) quick and effortless.


-----Original Message-----
From: jdom-interest-bounces at jdom.org
[mailto:jdom-interest-bounces at jdom.org] On Behalf Of Tatu Saloranta
Sent: 29. syyskuuta 2006 2:54
To: jdom-interest at jdom.org
Subject: Re: [jdom-interest] Imcompatibility with GPL

--- Elliotte Harold <elharo at metalab.unc.edu> wrote:

> Tatu Saloranta wrote:
> > Now, GPL and LGPL are (at least according to FSF
> > interpretation) mostly incompatible with most
> other
> > free or open source licenses: claim is (from both
> > and Apache, though) that LGPL and ASL would be incompatible. For a 
> > non-lawyer this seems silly (discussion on java class loading 
> > forming static linking and all)...
> That's an urban legend (well a programmer legend anyway). It has been 
> thoroughly debunked, but some people persist in

I would be interested in links to thorough debunking.
2 years ago (when I was trying to figure out whether there could be
incompatibility) all I found was pervasive repetition of the story about
an FSF lawyer thoroughly confirming the incompatibility. ;-/

> believing it. Java class
> loading details simply don't matter.  The LGPL and GPL work just fine 
> for Java code.

I would be happy if this is indeed the case... I have just had too many
people explain to me that ASL's (et
al) fear of LGPL is well-founded (due to some [apparently unknown] FSF
lawyer making the case based on the way Java does the link resolving
during class loading time), and thus am not dismissing the claim
off-hand, not any more.

That is, I don't agree with the interpretation, but enough people do
seem to believe (or want to make others believe) that there is
incompatibility, so that the perception starts to matter.

For me they are compatible, and as such any code I have licensed under
LGPL and ASL (for example) can be freely used and distributed together.
And my impression is this is the way most other java open source
developers feel as well, unless instructed otherwise by bigger
organizations, with lawyers. ;-)

-+ Tatu +-

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