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From "Roy T. Fielding" <>
Subject Re: Apache License, Version 2.0
Date Sat, 24 Jan 2004 03:27:45 GMT
On Friday, January 23, 2004, at 06:54  PM, Don Armstrong wrote:
> It would be nice to make it publicly available. Could you contact the
> author of the statement so it can be made available?

I am sure they will do so when they have it written down.
Eben Moglen takes great care in crafting his opinions,
and I don't want to rush the FSF into a response that
hasn't been carefully considered.

>> 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?

Because the patent license of section 3 of the ASL has no bearing on
software that is being distributed under the GPL.  Whether or not a
person can distribute a given work under the GPL due to an existing
patent is not a matter for compatibility between the two licenses;
it is merely an issue for the work in question.

> 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
> alone.
>     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.

That does not make the license incompatible.  If the owner of such
patent were to deny a license to the GPL'd distribution, then that work
could not be distributed under the GPL.  Since that is true regardless
of the source of the code, the fact that Apache and GPL licenses were
combined has no bearing on the result.

You MUST understand, before going any further, that the question of
whether a license is compatible with GPL and the question of whether
a piece of software is compatible with GPL are two SEPARATE issues,
even if a license can cause incompatibilities.  In this case, the
license is compatible but insufficient to allow GPL distribution.
That is a fact of life and is true of all of the licenses that the
FSF has already said are compatible with the GPL.

>> 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.

Of course, which is why their opinion was sought already.  License
compatibility with GPL is very simple: all derivative work of GPL'd
source must remain GPL'd.  Since the Apache License allows that
explicitly, it is true for anyone who uses the Apache License, and
thus the licenses are compatible regardless of an opinion.  There
is nothing more I can do to make it so.


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