JDK7 with lambda's downloadable

Mark Wielaard mark at klomp.org
Tue Sep 14 08:07:15 PDT 2010

Hi Neal,

On Mon, 2010-09-13 at 17:53 -0700, Neal Gafter wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 3:48 PM, Dr Andrew John Hughes
> <ahughes at redhat.com>wrote:
> > On 10 September 2010 06:39, Neal Gafter <neal at gafter.com> wrote:
> > > Does Oracle offer a patent grant so that we can *use* the lambda
> > prototype,
> > > whether from our own builds or prebuilt by Oracle?

They explicitly do through their distribution of the code under GPLv2.
But I assume that Oracle corporate lawyers have said not to speculate on
the scope of their legal requirements (especially since they are
currently in a legal dispute about patents with Google). But in the past
when all the code was released they explicitly said to take the GPL
literally and "there have been numerous analyses of the GPL license and
its terms, not least by the license stewards, the Free Software
Foundation. Sun recommends studying these interpretations" [1]. And as
we know the FSF interprets the GPL as granting broad patent rights from
the program and any derivatives [2]. 

This came up before and then people pointed out that it isn't just the
FSF, but that it is also the most likely interpretation when one has to
actually go to court: "from available case law, it is reasonable to
conclude that the implied license defense is available and tenable for a
defendant in a patent suit involving software released under the
GPL" [3].

> > http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html (7 & 8)
> > http://en.swpat.org/wiki/GPLv2_and_patents
> >
> I'm afraid sections 7 and 8 are not the least bit helpful.  An allegation of
> patent infringement for using GPL2'ed code does not contradict any of the
> conditions of the GPLv2 license.

I assume off-by-one and you mean sections 6 and 7. Not providing a
patent license would definitely contradict GPLv2. The GPL is pretty
explicit that any license granted includes a very broad patent grant:
"we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's
free use". So one has to read "license" in sections 6 and 7 to include
such a broad patent license (from Oracle and from others that have
granted such rights to Oracle itself [for example in the JCP] that are
necessary and are now passed through according to clause 6 and 7).

> The GPLv2 license grants freedoms to copy, distribute, and modify the
> sources.  But GPLv2 doesn't grant the recipient the right to use (execute)
> the code.  To use the code, you'd need the right to every patent that may be
> infringed by executing the code.

Again the GPL is very explicit about also covering use, it explicitly
says all usage rights associated are granted without restrictions: "The
act of running the Program is not restricted".

> Oracle has not granted me, or other non-Oracle openjdk contributors, the patent
> rights that we need to use the code.  However, the openjdk contributor
> agreement requires that we grant Oracle our patent rights!

They have obviously granted you those patent rights through their
distribution under the GPL. But you are right that they aren't promising
a patent grant for usage outside the GPL derivatives. One could
interpret the GPL grant very broadly and say that "use" covers anything,
including learning from the code and creating an independent
implementation. But you are right it would be nicer if the SCA
explicitly granted back full patent rights for any implementations, not
just GPLed derivatives. Personally I would like to see such a change:



[1] http://icedtea.classpath.org/openjdk/java/faq.jsp.html#g20
[2] http://www.fsf.org/news/oracle-v-google
[3] http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.java.openjdk.general/1659

More information about the lambda-dev mailing list