Re: Other class libraries

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On 24/06/2008, Roman Kennke <roman@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hi Andrew,
>  > Since OpenJDK has been released, I've noticed that a tendency has
>  > arisen to not treat
>  > that codebase with the same 'don't look if working on the same code'
>  > approach we had
>  > when it was proprietary.  When working on GNU Classpath, we still need
>  > to be careful
>  > about cross-pollination between codebases, even though the OpenJDK
>  > class libraries
>  > are under (nearly) the same license.
>  >
>  > This also applies for other class libraries, namely Harmony's.
> So where is the boundary? I already spent significant time studying
>  OpenJDK's code, in the graphics area (as part of my Challenge project)
>  as well as several other areas. Am I disqualified now as GNU Classpath
>  contributor? (Not that I contributed much in the last weeks, but
>  still...) You are 'walking the line' then too, with the CPStringBuilder
>  effort (I think this has been 'inspired' by OpenJDK iirc), and as part
>  of your Challenge project you are also studying a lot of OpenJDK code I
>  suppose.
>  Do we have any strong criteria by which we can measure which
>  contribution can go in and which can't?
>  /Roman
>  --

Hi Roman,

I find myself asking the same questions, and this is why I raised the
questions.  I don't have all the answers either, and I'm sorry if the
original mail came across like I was dictating a particular position.
That wasn't the intention. FWIW, yes, both you and I have worked on
both the Classpath and OpenJDK codebases of late, as have Mark, Mario,
Christian and probably others - we're all in this together (although,
just to clarify, CPStringBuilder was based on an idea in GCJ and the
implementation (and its bugs) are original).

I think it's an issue we need to look into, and we need to do so
before it's too late.  In reality, I don't think Sun is going to come
chasing GNU Classpath contributors, if just because the majority are
also now OpenJDK contributors (which is half the problem) and it would
eradicate all the good work they've done with the Free Java community
over the past couple of years.

Unfortunately, such suppositions aren't worth much in legal terms (and
let's get the obvious IANAL disclaimer in here before I say any more).
 As we discussed a little on IRC earlier today, it's actually quite a
ridiculous situation that GNU Classpath and OpenJDK are just about
under the same license, but because of that 'or later' clause, they
are incompatible.  Ideally, we would have imported a lot of OpenJDK
code into GNU Classpath when it was released.  Filling the holes in
GCJ, for example, with Sun code would probably be a faster method of
getting a TCK-passing implementation on non-x86/x86_64 platforms,
assuming that such a combination counts as 'sufficiently derived'.  In
an ideal world, both would be under GPLv3 and we'd share code between
the two as intended.  On the other side, I've not seen as much code as
I'd expect (like the AWT peers) move into OpenJDK either, but I think
this is less legal and more process related.

Dalibor, could you give us something from Sun's side on this issue?

Mark, perhaps you can fill in some of the details I've probably left
out, as you're much more aware of these matters than myself?

I hope we can come to a decent resolution on this, but I think the
issue does need to be discussed openly and as soon as possible.

Andrew :-)

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