Will OpenJDK never contain other GPLed code?
David.Herron at Sun.COM
Thu Aug 16 17:52:50 PDT 2007
Volker Simonis wrote:
>> As an addendum to our discussion, I also found the article "Does dual
>> licensing threaten free software?" by Glyn Moody quite usefull and
>> interesting (see http://linuxjournal.com/node/1000069)
This article has some interesting thoughts in it, as do the comments.
/The FSF could conceivably release close-source versions of the GNU
tools if they wanted to; nobody would be able to stop them. Maybe
the argument should be "copyright assignment gives power away to
someone else", which is true irrespective of any pre-existing
The SCA by contrast gives dual ownership, making it more attractive than
simply assigning copyright and giving your code away to someone else.
Under the SCA both parties have power.
/You can fork the GNU GPL code, certainly; but you can't "fork" the
commercial model. That is, you can't really set up another company
to do what the copyright holders are doing. So, in a sense, you have
lost the power to offer users a choice, generally one of the key
features of the free software world, of which these businesses are
now a part.
I see that was written a year ago, before the OpenJDK license strategy
was announced, and during the time the team here was still studying what
to do. However if I understand this statement correctly, we are close
to doing what this guy says can't be done in that other entities besides
Sun are offering commercialized Java implementations most of which are
derived from the same code Sun now has under the OpenJDK project. They
are doing this by getting an appropriate license from Sun allowing that
use of the code.
/ It is only when a company owns all the copyright in the code that
it can employ dual licensing. /
In one of your other replies you noted how hard it would be for a
GPL-licensed project to donate their code to Sun because of the mixed
ownership. Another way of looking at this is when a given project is
careful about copyright ownership, the project in question can be more
flexible about how the code is used and licensed. For example Linux may
never be able to move from GPLv2 because the project never had copyright
assignment to a central party.
- David Herron
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