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JavaSVN License Change

From: Mark Phippard <markp_at_softlanding.com>
Date: 2005-10-21 02:59:00 CEST

This message is addressed to the developers of this project, and also to
Alex at tmate.org. Alex, if you are not the person that should get this,
please forward it.

In case you do not know, tmate.org has posted their license change for
JavaSVN. If you have not seen it yet, you should visit their site and take
a look:


All things considered, it doesn't seem too bad, and even if it is, let's
face it, the work they have done is pretty remarkable and they have the
right to do whatever they want with their code. I do think we need to get
some clarification, perhaps official clarifications, as to how tmate.org
see's this license applying to our projects.

First, technically, the only one of our projects that uses JavaSVN is
svnClientAdapter. Subclipse and svnAnt only talk to svnClientAdapter.
Second, technically, svnClientAdapter is talking to the Subversion JavaHL
interface, which JavaSVN has chosen to implement. We do use a JavaSVN
factory to construct the object that implements the interface, but
otherwise we do not use any other JavaSVN methods directly. I doubt any of
this legally matters, but it is worth pointing out.

Obviously, on a simple level, all of our projects are open source and we
therefore are eligible to use JavaSVN from our products. At least that is
how I read things and their license seems fairly simple.

These are the questions I need to see clear, unequivocal answers to.

1) Could someone shipping a commercial IDE based on Eclipse, whether it be
IBM's Rational tools, or SAP, or Borland, or whomever, include the
Subclipse plugin in their distribution, assuming Subclipse includes
JavaSVN. In my opinion, if the answer to this is not a definite yes, then
I see this as a show stopper.

2) Can someone make a modified version of Subclipse and still use JavaSVN?
For example, maybe someone wants to do some custom dialogs or something,
but it is otherwise the Subclipse code? Obviously if they keep the same
license as Subclipse then I do not see how there could be a problem, but
what if this were part of a commercial product?

3) There are definitely people using svnClientAdapter in other projects.
I do not know that these are anything but internal tools, but what if they
are not? Does using svnClientAdapter allow you to use JavaSVN? I would
think if you provide the source for svnClientAdapter, that you are
technically complying with the license.

4) I can probably figure out how this applies to svnAnt based on the
previous three answers, but if anyone can think of any special
considerations that might apply to svnAnt please post them.

My company is and has been a member of the Eclipse Foundation. I figured
at some point, probably after we are at a solid 1.0 stage, I would float
the idea of moving Subclipse over to Eclipse.org. I suspect that CollabNet
might be willing to step up and co-sponsor us if this happened, but who
knows? Anyway, how does our using JavaSVN make this easier or more
difficult? If JavaSVN were licensed under the CPL or EPL. then I think it
would make this much easier since Eclipse prefers pure Java solutions.
Given that it is not licensed under the CPL/EPL, would we have to dump
JavaSVN as part of doing this?

Wrapping this up ... I want to keep positive about this. JavaSVN has the
right to do whatever they want, and frankly their license looks reasonable.
That being said, if people cannot include Subclipse in commercial projects,
or otherwise modify Subclipse, then I am not sure that we can continue to
include it, which would really suck.

Finally, I am just speaking for myself and I do not think my "vote" counts
for any more than any one else that contributes. I am interested in
hearing what others think. Especially those of you that have some
experience in this area.



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Received on Fri Oct 21 10:59:00 2005

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