Building hsdis?

Volker Simonis volker.simonis at
Fri Dec 29 16:16:53 UTC 2017

On Thu, Dec 28, 2017 at 11:48 AM, Andrew Haley <aph at> wrote:
> On 27/12/17 11:26, Volker Simonis wrote:
>> There are two different problems here:
>> 1. It is not possible to build and redistribute because of
>> GPLv2 and GPLv3 license incompatibilities.
>> This problem could be easily solved by re-licensing hsdis.{c,h} under
>> GPLv3. That would allow it to others (e.g. the AdoptOpenJD project) to
>> provide pre-built version of for various platforms and
>> versions of OpenJDK. This will be definitely of great benefit for the
>> OpenJDK community, especially taking into account that many popular
>> tools like JITwatch or JMH use or depend on hsdis.
>> 2. The second problem is wether and when a program and its plug-ins
>> are considered a single combined program.
>> This is a long standing problem [1] and without being a lawyer (which
>> is probably an advantage :) I'd consider the usage of hsdis a
>> "borderline case" (because HotSpot and hsdis dont't share any complex,
>> common data structures - they just pass a byte stream forth and back).
>> But that's just my opinion.
> Right, but there is substantial functionality which depends on binutils.
>> We can not easily solve or decide problem 2. But we can resolve the
>> first problem and give everybody the freedom to decide question 2
>> for himself.
> I believe that anybody distributing the resulting would be on
> shaky legal ground.  Maybe it'd work in some countries, not others, I
> don't know, but we shouldn't be trying to find clever schemes to evade
> the clear intent of the FSF, the binutils copyright owner.
>> Without resolving the first problem (i.e. re-licensing hsdis.{c,h}
>> under GPLv3) most people won't even face problem two (if this is a
>> problem at all) because they simply don't have a version of hsdis.
> We need to seek a better way to solve this problem.
> Neither of us are lawyers, but I don't like it, and I would be very
> reluctant to be involved with any organization trying to get past
> the FSF's copyright terms in this way.

So than why aren't you reluctant about using hsdis itself? Or did you
(or your co-workers) never ever used any hsdis version based on
binutils > 2.17, released in June 2006 (small hint: aarch64 support
was added in binutils 2.23 around 2012 and is entirely GPLv3).

> --
> Andrew Haley
> Java Platform Lead Engineer
> Red Hat UK Ltd. <>
> EAC8 43EB D3EF DB98 CC77 2FAD A5CD 6035 332F A671

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