[Mulgara-dev] License Question.
dwood at softwarememetics.com
Tue Oct 24 18:09:45 UTC 2006
I am a bit concerned over the direction of this thread. Please allow
me to stem the flow of hyperbole before the Mulgara project
hemorrhages users. With the caveat that I am not a lawyer, I have
spoken to a large number of them over the years and periodically read
each of the licenses in question in detail. My comments are
therefore not legal advice and you should seek your own from a
qualified lawyer. However, this is my understanding and the basis
for our choice of license:
Firstly, there is no clause in the Open Software License (especially
1c) which requires someone else's code to become Open Source (only
the GPL does that). The OSL's clause 1c does *not* require any any
user of Mulgara to release their own code under an Open Source
license. However, it does require Mulgara itself, in either original
or modified form, to remain under its original OSL license. That
means that a project using a proprietary license can use Mulgara if
they wish, but they must comply with Mulgara's license in that
Mulgara itself must remain Open Source. This is not a problem in
practice for most users - they simply have to list Mulgara's URL and
license in their legal statements in pretty much the same way that
Sakai's Apache license requires them to list Sakai's license.
Secondly, Mulgara's license makes no distinction between "public"
APIs and the rest of Mulgara's code. You, or anyone else, may use
Mulgara all you want and in any way that you want as long as you
comply with its license. That means, in brief, that any Mulgara
components that you *distribute* must be accompanied with at least a
pointer to its license and a pointer to its source code.
A project using Mulgara does not necessarily have to distribute or
even directly make available Mulgara's license or source code. You
can simply point to it in a legal notices file, like this:
This distribution contains source code from the Mulgara Semantic
Store. Mulgara is licensed under the Open Software License
version 3.0 (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/osl-3.0.php)
where the "Original Work" is the Mulgara Semantic Store and
the "Licensor" is the Mulgara Project (http://mulgara.org).
Mulgara's source code may be found at http://mulgara.org
That's it. Not so bad, eh?
Now, if you modify Mulgara's source code for your project, then you
have to comply with other bits of the license and you will have to
read them. In any case, it is no big deal.
I suspect that your original question is really to do with the
requirement that Mulgara must stay Open Source. Several Open Source
licenses have that requirement, including the GPL, the MPL and the
OSL. However, only the GPL triggers someone else's code to become
Open Source (the "viral nature" of the GPL) and that is why Mulgara
does not use the GPL.
We want good projects like Sakai to use Mulgara and are happy to have
you do so! Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for
On 23 Oct2006, at 18:45, Ian Boston wrote:
> I have read with horror the history of how Mulgara came into life,
> and I believe that you have made the right decision. I am working
> as part of the Opensource project, www.sakaiproject.org. We have
> some 60 Universities world wide contributing, and a handful of
> commercial affiliates also contributing. We use an Apache style
> license... and now the problem.
> We want to use a highly scalable triple store, we thought Kowali
> with its MPL license was suitable, but having seen the behavior of
> a certain corps legal department, and the distinct lack of
> enthusiasm since then, I'm not so certain that we should follow
> We have great difficulty using an opensource license with GPL like
> statements (eg OSL-v3 clause 1c) since it would force the few
> commercial affiliates to opensource all there code. The core
> community, with about 2M line of code has little interest in
> forcing them to do this, as, in order to get support, they tend to
> do it anyway. (and if they dont, we could change the API's :) under
> them. )
> On the other hand I absolutely understand why Mulgara would want to
> make certain that all commercial or other users of Mulgara
> opensource all their code.
> So my question,
> Would it be acceptable to use the Driver code for Mulgara and
> obviously, bind to that code....
> 1. continue to use an Apache style license
> 2. not require others who deploy the code bundle, containing those
> bindings to opensource their code.
> When we have asked this same question of LGPL licensed code, in
> general, the authors have confirmed that we are Ok to use their
> jars in this form. We also deploy on MySQL, but the JDBC bindings
> to the MySQL drivers are loose, so we can just ask deployers to
> download their own jars. Presumably a similar loose binding would
> resolver the issue in the case of Mulgara.
> As you might have guessed, I'm not a lawyer (thankfully) but I dont
> want to commit the development time if I'm going to find that a
> lawyer prevents us from using Mulgara.
> Ian Boston
> Mulgara-dev mailing list
> Mulgara-dev at mulgara.org
More information about the Mulgara-dev