Re: Other class libraries
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Mark Wielaard wrote: > On Tue, 2008-06-24 at 23:30 +0200, Roman Kennke wrote: >> IANAL either, but from my understanding this is not the problem. At >> least not for contributors. The problem is copyright, and this is >> regardless of the license, proprietary or free. If I look at Sun's code >> and then go and implement something in GNU Classpath that is very >> similar or equal to what I studied before in OpenJDK, I risk to be >> blamed for copyright infringement. > > Yes. This is the real issue. > So when someone asks "where is the line", the answer is "if you are > implementing something for GNU Classpath, don't study the implementation > code from another implementation, you risk coming up with something > identical and then the 'ownership and distribution rules' would be in > question". > > So concretely. If you find a bug in GNU Classpath, it is OK if you test > against some other implementation and see what it does (run various > programs and tests). It isn't OK to go study the other implementation > code to see what it precisely does and then write the same code for GNU > Classpath. Obviously not, no. However, there is an enormous gulf between studying and copying, and you are muddying the waters by failing to distinguish between them. We run the risk of being in the situation where everyone is free to study OpenJDK except Classpath developers. I don't think this is justified by copyright law. You are taking an extreme interpretation of the law which I do not believe is in the best interests of the GNU project and GNU Classpath. It's always tempting to say "let's err on the side of safety", but in my opinion this is too far. Obviously, coming up with something identical and checking it in to GNU Classpath would not be allowed. But it's much more reasonable to say "don't do that, then" than to forbid free software programmers from studying free software. Put that way, it's plainly absurd, but that is what you are saying. Andrew.