Will OpenJDK never contain other GPLed code?

David Herron David.Herron at Sun.COM
Fri Aug 17 00:52:50 UTC 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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