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From Don Armstrong <>
Subject Re: Apache License, Version 2.0
Date Sat, 24 Jan 2004 02:54:42 GMT
On Fri, 23 Jan 2004, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
> Yes, though I don't think it was public.

It would be nice to make it publicly available. Could you contact the
author of the statement so it can be made available?
> They are compatible. 

Could you outline your reasoning why §3 of the ASL doesn't conflict
with the patent grants required under §7 of the GPL?

From my reading, the language of ASL§3 when combined with GPL§7 could
disallow a class of distribution normally allowed for a GPLed work

    If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your
    obligations under this License and any other pertinent
    obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the
    Program at all. [...] if a patent license would not permit
    royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who
    receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only
    way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain
    entirely from distribution of the Program.[GPL §7]

    If You institute patent litigation against any entity (including a
    cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the Work
    or a Contribution incorporated within the Work constitutes direct
    or contributory patent infringement, then any patent licenses
    granted to You under this License for that Work shall terminate as
    of the date such litigation is filed. [ASL §3]

The conflict primarily revolves around the ability of the distributor
to distribute an ASL+GPLed work after the distributor has lost a
patent license due to reciprocity. Since the GPL itself does not
contain such a restriction, you cannot turn around and license the
resultant work under the GPL alone as required by GPL §2c, etc.

> Whether or not they are considered compatible by the FSF is an
> opinion only they can make, but given that a derivative work
> consisting of both Apache Licensed code and GPL code can be
> distributed under the GPL (according to *our* opinion), there really
> isn't anything to be discussed.

Unfortunately, Apache's opinion isn't enough, unless the ASL is only
going to be applied to works (and combined works) wholly owned by
ASF. The opinion of the copyright holder of the GPLed work being
combined with an ASLed work is also at issue here. As the FSF is the
copyright holder on quite a large number of GPLed works, as well as
the principle enforcer of the GPL, their opinion was sought as a
reference point.

Don Armstrong

"The question of whether computers can think is like the question of
whether submarines can swim."
 -- Edsgar Dijkstra

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