atom feed4 messages in : Not for Profit Open Sour...
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Geir Magnusson Jr.Jun 23, 2008 8:17 pm 
Chris GrayJun 24, 2008 2:47 am 
Dain SundstromJun 24, 2008 10:55 am 
Geir Magnusson Jr.Jun 24, 2008 11:20 am 
Subject:discussion : Not for Profit Open Source Community TCK License Agreement
From:Geir Magnusson Jr. (
Date:Jun 23, 2008 8:17:03 pm


The failure of Sun to offer the ASF a Java SE TCK license that JSPA- compliant and acceptable to the ASF doesn't diminish the importance for the Apache Harmony project to be able to use the JCK to demonstrate to users that it's compatible with the specification.

To that end, we are examining alternative approaches to the traditional proprietary/confidential license process. One such approach is to attempt to count on Sun's publicly stated interest in supporting open-source communities. Specifically, we started with the the following license that Sun offers to the OpenJDK community and people who make derivative works of Open JDK (like IceTea - congrats!!) :

and then made some modifications which are neutral and immaterial from the perspective of the JSPA, and in addition, makes the license functional for communities that have their own code under licenses other than the GPL, such as us here at the ASF :

Note : this is meant to be a starting point for the discussion - the ASF will need to formally review any final version of such a document before acceptance.

The "algorithm" for producing the new license can be described as :

1) Replace "OpenJDK" with "Not-for-profit open source" : this license is intended for use by any not-for-profit open source project/ organization, not just Sun's OpenJDK project, or the ASF for that matter. Why 'not-for-profit'? The JSPA requires that any qualified not-for-profit receive any TCK at no cost, so this seems like an appropriate partitioning.

2) Broaden the applicability to any independent implementation under any OSI approved license. Freedom is good ;)

Other than a few nips and tucks to make things read clearly and consistently, that's about it. This license is free of the problems that have plagued previous TCK licenses such as Field Of Use limitations or notice requirements. While a purist might suggest that limiting to OSI approved licenses is problematic from the POV that the JSPA can't limit the license under which an implementation can be distributed, it's certainly broader than the GPL-only original, and of course we'd be happy to accept that it should be "any license of the implementer's choosing" :)

Anyway, that's it. I think this is a solid start to an alternative path to find a solution that we all can live with, in a rapid manner to avoid harming the Apache Harmony project any further - it's Sun's license, after all. I'll be forwarding this to the JCP EC for discussion at tomorrow's meeting.

Comments welcome and appreciated.