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Subscribe to Application Licensing  8 posts, 4 voices

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Oct 15, 2007 9:57pm
Medium Bug Labs team finsprings 268 posts

When posting an app there’s a license field. I left it blank initially but just now I cut and paste in GPL v3. I would be fine with changing it to Creative Commons or something else. Do you expect there to be a default license for application providers?

Given that the apps are linked in with OSGI and BugLabs code, and at least from me some heavy cutting and pasting from the sample apps, they presumably need to have licenses that encompass the licensing in those components. What is the licensing of those components?

Oct 15, 2007 10:27pm
Medium Bug Labs team psemme 8 posts

Great question. All of our code is GPL or GPL-compatible. That said, the application code you write, that is original to you, can be covered under whatever license you want. If you cut & paste code from other places you’ll need to have a clear understanding of what rights you have to that code if you plan on using it and/or re-distributing it in any way. We, as a company, do not impose any licensing restrictions on the application code you write.

The license field is there to help you make your licensing intentions explicit. We evaluated different ways to make it easy to choose different licenses – GPL v2, v3 or cc, etc. but in the end decided to keep it totally open for flexibility sake. We’ll keep an eye on what the most common licenses are and try to make it easier to implement those over time.

Please let us know if you have any furrther questions. Getting these licensing issues on the table and clarified is extremely important to us. Thanks!

Oct 15, 2007 10:46pm
Medium Bug Labs team finsprings 268 posts

Sorry, I’m still not getting it then. If your code is GPL then one can’t choose to use another license (CC, Apache, BSD, whatever) for application code that is either derived from yours or linked against yours (which I don’t have a problem with at all, quite the reverse, but as you say it’s worth having these discussions so everyone is on the same page).

BUG applications have to be linked to the interfaces exports by the BUG/OSGI frameworks, so I would expect that that would mean that all application code would need to be at least GPL wouldn’t it? I’m thinking of this as analogous to writing kernel modules in Linux: by most accounts those are considered to be linked against the kernel and hence fall under the GPL.Or is there some way to write a BUG application that isn’t considered to be linked against BUG code?

Also, what do you mean by "GPL-compatible"?

Oct 16, 2007 10:33am
Medium Bug Labs team agordon 74 posts

There is a good article on wikipedia pertaining to dual licencing (with good external resources, etc.). Maybe it brings up some helpful points, or maybe it will just muddy this discussion even more. I just figured I’d point it out:


Oct 16, 2007 8:37pm
Medium Bug Labs team psemme 8 posts

Hey – I haven’t forgotten this thread. But before I jump back in I want to make sure I understand all the implications of "linking". It can be a fairly ambiguous area legally. So rather than just give you my opinion, I’d like to collect some more data and present a more thoughtful response. I should have more by EOD tomorrow. Thanks.

Oct 18, 2007 6:33pm
Medium Bug Labs team psemme 8 posts

Hi everyone. So, I've done some homework and realized there are a couple issues here. First, what is Bug Labs' position on who owns BUG apps and second, what are the legal requirements around BUG app licensing? I've tried to answer both below.

First - Bug Labs is a firm believer in the power of FOSS - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOSS. That's why everything we're doing is open source. That said we have no interest in enforcing any type of license on BUG application developers. They should be completely free to do what they want with their code. Of course, we'd love it if they GPL'd it, but it is by no means a requirement.

Second - With respect to linking and BUG apps, an analogy to Linux is appropriate. If you write an application for Linux in "user space" and only call the public Linux APIs to perform specific functions (printing, network, etc.), you are not required to license your app under the GPL. In the same way, if you write a BUG app and "call" services via the OSGi framework we provide (and you haven't included anyone else's code in your source) then you are free to license the app however you want. In fact, when you export your app from the SDK none of the OSGi framework code is included.

The whole linking debate is hotly contested and has not, to my knowledge, ever been settled by any case brought before a U.S. court. But given what I've been told, the BUG applications you create and are completely original to you, are yours to license how you please. Let me know if you have any further questions or concerns. Thanks!
Oct 18, 2007 8:51pm
Medium Bug Labs team finsprings 268 posts


Thanks for taking the time to research this. It’s great to have this stuff layed out early on so everyone’s on the same page.


Oct 19, 2007 9:16am
Medium Bug Labs team kgilmer 215 posts

One last (minor) point to make is that the OSGi runtime we use, Concierge (1), is BSD licensed. phoneME advanced (2), the JVM, is GPL and does not have the classpath exception(3) clause. However as Peter mentioned since your applications and the BUG are currently not being distributed together the copyleft does not apply.

1. http://concierge.sourceforge.net
2. https://phoneme.dev.java.net/
3. http://www.javalobby.org/java/forums/t84256.html

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