JRuby in Commercial Applications

All,

before embarking on some experiments integrating JRuby with our
commercial software to allow for easy scripting of some of the
functionality I would like to get an idea of the licensing effects. I
looked at file COPYING and was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the 2k
lines document. Most important licenses seem to be GPL, LGPL and
Common Public License. I do not completely overlook effects of all
these combined. Are there any limitations apart from the requirement
to make source code available and include licensing? It seems that
“Common Public License” is intended to allow inclusion in a commercial
product but I am not so sure about the other icenses. Thank you for
any insights!

Kind regards

robert


remember.guy do |as, often| as.you_can - without end
http://blog.rubybestpractices.com/

On Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 10:57 AM, Robert K.
[email protected] wrote:

“Common Public License” is intended to allow inclusion in a commercial
product but I am not so sure about the other icenses. Thank you for
any insights!

IANAL, NDIPOOTV:

From what I understand about software licenses, and dual/multi
licensing in particular, you are free to choose the license that suits
your purpose best, as long as you abide by the license’s clauses
afterwards.

Without knowing your intentions / business strategy with said
commercial software, it’s really hard to recommend one (GPL is
infectious, though, so pick the LGPL, which only requires you to ship
JRuby’s source code modifications, instead of open sourcing your own
application), or what effect it could have on your software project.
The CPL is an unknown in the legal circles, AFAIK (The GPL and LGPL
have been challenged in courts, and at least in the US and Europe they
are holding up).

That being said: Go and talk to a lawyer.


Phillip G.

Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I’ve moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I’ve played and passed through,
Who’ll remember my song or my face.

On 04/06/2011 05:59 AM, Phillip G. wrote:

The CPL is an unknown in the legal circles,

The CPL is not unknown “in the legal circles”, having been endorsed by
the FSF and OSI [1]. However new projects should use EPL instead of CPL
[2].

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Public_License

[2]
http://mmilinkov.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/one-small-step-towards-reducing-license-proliferation/

On Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 6:12 PM, consiliens [email protected] wrote:

On 04/06/2011 05:59 AM, Phillip G. wrote:

The CPL is an unknown in the legal circles,

The CPL is not unknown “in the legal circles”, having been endorsed by the
FSF and OSI [1]. However new projects should use EPL instead of CPL [2].

Where’s the case law that is supporting the license?

FSF and OSI endorsement is worth the paper it’s printed on if you are
in conflict with the license, or want to show someone is in conflict
with the license.


Phillip G.

Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I’ve moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I’ve played and passed through,
Who’ll remember my song or my face.

On 04/06/2011 10:43 AM, Phillip G. wrote:

On Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 6:12 PM, consiliens[email protected] wrote:

On 04/06/2011 05:59 AM, Phillip G. wrote:

The CPL is an unknown in the legal circles,

The CPL is not unknown “in the legal circles”, having been endorsed by the
FSF and OSI [1]. However new projects should use EPL instead of CPL [2].

Where’s the case law that is supporting the license?

I was referring to knowledge of the license. As far as I know there’s
not much case law for any open source license.

FSF and OSI endorsement is worth the paper it’s printed on if you are
in conflict with the license, or want to show someone is in conflict
with the license.

I agree and that’s why it’s important to talk to a lawyer.

Note: I’m not a lawyer and the following isn’t legal advice.

On 04/06/2011 02:57 AM, Robert K. wrote:

Most important licenses seem to be GPL, LGPL and
Common Public License. I do not completely overlook effects of all
these combined.

JRuby is released under a disjunctive tri-license. You pick one of the
licenses and then abide by it, there is no “combined effect”. For
example, the GPL doesn’t apply if you select to use JRuby under the
Common Public License.

https://github.com/jruby/jruby/blob/master/COPYING

It seems that
“Common Public License” is intended to allow inclusion in a commercial
product but I am not so sure about the other icenses.

All of the mentioned licenses (CPL, GPL, LGPL) allow inclusion in a
commercial product. The primary difference is what obligations you have
to meet as a result of that inclusion.

As far as I know a number of proprietary applications are happily
shipping JRuby under the CPL.

On 04/06/2011 10:40 PM, Phillip G. wrote:

And really, it’s not that it is difficult to comply with an open
source license.

I agree that compliance usually isn’t difficult. The Software Freedom
Law Center does excellent work and is available at no charge to “Free,
Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS)” projects.

http://softwarefreedom.org/

For-profit entities should consider Moglen Ravicher LLC.

http://moglenravicher.com/

Maybe Robert’s results can lead to a FAQ entry, too?

JRuby certainly needs a License FAQ on the home page.

On Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 1:10 AM, consiliens [email protected] wrote:

I was referring to knowledge of the license. As far as I know there’s not
much case law for any open source license.

Except for the GPL. For example:
http://www.gpl-violations.org/news/20041024-linux-tomtom.html
http://sfconservancy.org/news/2010/aug/03/busybox-gpl/

US case law is a bit sparser, due to out of court settlements.

But so far, every case of GPL violation (BusyBox seems to be a
preferred “victim”) brought to court in Europe has been resolved in
the GPL’s user favour, as far as I know.

And really, it’s not that it is difficult to comply with an open
source license. The difficulty lies more with what clauses apply, and
how.

I agree and that’s why it’s important to talk to a lawyer.

Really can’t stress this enough. The laws governing intellectual
property are opaque at best, incomprehensible at worst, and software
licenses are still (legal) new ground.

Maybe Robert’s results can lead to a FAQ entry, too?


Phillip G.

Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I’ve moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I’ve played and passed through,
Who’ll remember my song or my face.

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