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Re: Subversion change of license -- where was the discussion?

From: Greg Stein <gstein_at_gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 2009 17:56:07 -0400

Mark had an excellent response, so I don't have much to add, except to
raise one point:

On Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 15:58, Michael Haggerty <mhagger_at_alum.mit.edu> wrote:
>...
> In any case, I have one comment to toss out there (in the sense that one
> "tosses" a hand grenade).  According to advice that I solicited from
> licensing_at_fsf.org with respect to the cvs2svn project, the old CollabNet
> license was compatible with GPLv2, whereas the FSF's position is that
> the Apache 2.0 license is *not* compatible with GPLv2 (though it *is*
> compatible with GPLv3) [1].

That is the *FSF's* position.

There are a lot of people who disagree with their position, and the
basis for it. In short, it revolves around the patent clauses in ALv2.
That clause only comes into effect *IFF* there are patents within the
ALv2-licensed code, and is invoked by the owner of that code. SVNCorp
(the owner of svn IP) does not have any patents, nor would it ever
invoke any rights to them. So if there is nothing for the patent
clauses to "latch onto", then how can they be incompatible?

Further, the GPLv2 does not explicitly grant any rights to use a
patent, so could ALv2 remove rights that weren't present to begin
with?

But whatever. This isn't the right list for discussion of licensing
theory (licensing_at_fsf or legal-discuss_at_apache are two venues I'm aware
of; maybe an OSI list?). As Mark noted, the license applied to
Subversion is now well-known and well-understood, which is a nice step
forward. Whether and how you believe it may be incompatible with your
own larger work is up to you.

Cheers,
-g

  Although it is certainly debatable whether
> the import of one library by another constitutes creating a derivative
> work, this issue will undoubtedly cause concerns among other projects
> and distributors (e.g., Debian Linux).
>
> In fact, this incompatibility is already causing consternation in the
> Mercurial project, which is GPLv2 but whose SVN->hg convert plugin uses
> the SVN Python bindings.  A few days ago Matt Mackall disabled the SVN
> support in their repo due to perceived license incompatibility.
> Analogous problems are imaginable with the git project (also GPLv2) with
> respect to its git-svn support.
>
> I can respect a change to the Subversion license, and welcome a change
> from the obscure CollabNet license to a better-known license.  But I
> would hate for the project to stumble into a thicket of licensing issues
> without having considered the ramifications.
>
> Michael
>
> [1] http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/
>
> ------------------------------------------------------
> http://subversion.tigris.org/ds/viewMessage.do?dsForumId=462&dsMessageId=2400943
>

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Received on 2009-09-27 23:56:19 CEST

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