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JBoss Queries Apache Geronimo Code Similarity 293

Kanagawa writes "This morning, Jim Jagielski, Exec. V.P. and Secretary of the Apache Software Foundation, announced on the geronimo-dev mailing list that 'the ASF received a letter from JBoss's lawyers regarding... the similarity of code between [J2EE implementation] Geronimo and JBoss.' The letter is available in PDF. According to the letter, similarities were noticed back in July, and haven't been fixed."
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JBoss Queries Apache Geronimo Code Similarity

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  • ...see this post to TheServerSide []. A lot of these look like common design patterns and standard Java/J2EE naming conventions.

    You can also see Jim Jagielski's response to some questions here [] about this issue. Sounds pretty reasonable.
    • ...see this post to TheServerSide. A lot of these look like common design patterns and standard Java/J2EE naming conventions.

      You can also see Jim Jagielski's response to some questions here about this issue. Sounds pretty reasonable.

      Your examples make it really look like just another SCO case. Not much similarity, except for some formalities.

      The code parts mentioned in the JBoss' advocate's letter look a little related. I guess it can't prove that one is derived from the other, but the is some degree

    • Another rebuttal of the claims is here []. Looks like any similarities are either chance, or from the two implementations being derived from a common ancestor.
    • The similarities are too high to be considered a design pattern. The variable names and even choices for captialization are the same. for example, "ThreadNDCConverter" So are optional argument strings. like "CELLPADDING" which if two different people did might have come out as "CELL_PADDING" or "CELLPAD" or "PADCELL" etc...

      The best they can hope for is it was copied from a common source or contributed by the same copyright holder.

      • I've had programming classes where the teacher would specifically spell out EXACTLY how your code should look, such as full nouns for variable names (no abbreviations), and very specific capitalization schemes. Documentation was specified as well.

        If you look at most of the code excerpts, they're for basic things like string and integer conversions. Given a classroom full of people, and very specific instructions on what code should look like, you're not going to get much variation.

        One would need to loo
        • "CELLPADDING" is a term in HTML, for example:
          <TD CELLPADDING='3'>data</TD>
          So any two people both familiar with this could very easily pick that same variable name, just as any two unix C programmers could both use "grep" for a searching function, or decide to name something that destroys threads based on a name "killall". It was already a convention before they used it.
      • by Merk ( 25521 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:19PM (#7438686) Homepage

        C'mon! CamelCase names in Java follow a some simple rules, there's even a documented way of how you're supposed to do it. As for CELLPADDING, since that's how it's named in HTML, it wouldn't surprise me to see it done identically in another place. Better go sue Netscape too.

        To see if the code is actually similar you'd have to look at algorithms and innovations. Looking at interfaces and their names isn't going to tell you anything at all.

      • by Delirium Tremens ( 214596 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:21PM (#7438715) Journal
        Good try, but no, really. First of all, CELLPADDING only appears in the jBoss part of the diff, not in Geronimo. Secondly, that's how you are supposed to specify the padding for cells in an HTML table. So, if Geronimo had decided to use an HTML table in their javadoc with cell padding, they would have had to use CELLPADDING. But all that is irrelevant since they didn't.
        • Dude. That's not a "diff". That's the bits of those files that are the SAME. All the "***" means areas that DID NOT MATCH.

          In other words, the few instances where the code appears to be copied are a couple of methods having to do with Logs. Those methods (at least the similar parts) also seem to be little more than wrapping a call to an apache library function.

          So... The wrappers probably use the same parameter names as the apache function they are calling. So they should be pretty similar. The metho
      • by brett_sinclair ( 673309 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:23PM (#7438730)
        even choices for captialization are the same. for example, "ThreadNDCConverter"

        No mystery there. ThreadNDCConverter is capitalized *exactly* according to very established java code conventions. See for example ions.doc8.html

      • It's part of coding in a given environment. I've been coding MFC programs for almost 3 years now, and I've completely picked up the MFC naming conventions, despite the fact that I always have (and still do) despise them. Most of the stuff in my company's libraries fits in so well with the MFC conventions that I rarely know offhand whether it's in our toolbox or in MFC itself.

        If you were going to come up with a more generic, cross-format version of MFC's CBitmap, how much do you want to bet it's going to be
      • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:35PM (#7438844) Journal
        I respectfull disagree.

        a) I don't think anyone would mix up CELLPADDING with PADCELL. What should PADCELL be or mean?

        b) Its standard java coding style rules NOT TO USE a "_" in a constant.

        Everybody using "cell padding" as a name for a constat wich is used like a enum would write CELLPADDING. Everybody.

        The capitalization rules are also well defined. So if you consider to have a class "ThreadNDCConverter" a companay sticking to the original coding style rules will name that class or interface: ThreadNdcConverter. While my company OTOH will name it ThreadNDCConverter, as our rule is to capitalize all abreviations, like FTP, RMI and such.

      • What cellpadding? What on earth are you talking about?

        There's no reference to CELLPADDING in the Geronimo source in the PDF, only in the JBoss source. And anyway, that's in the embedded API documentation - JavaDoc - it's not a varable name at all.

        And, it's CELLPADDING because they're embedding HTML into the source - so it's got to be the HTML spec. (You do know what HTML is, right?)

        Secondly, you're factually wrong - the class names are different - it's "ThreadNDCConverter" in JBoss and "NamedNDCConver
  • If they both used the J2EE Reference Implementation wouldn't the code be similar? I fail to see how this is an issue.
    • by heathm ( 174421 )
      Neither Geronimo or JBoss are based on the J2EE RI.
      • ..but both probably use the same spesifications as basis.

        which really wouldn't surprise me too much when it lead to similarities in namings.

        same goes for a lot of other projects as well(hey,your irc program uses 'nickname' for storing the nickname! you stole it from us!!).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:56PM (#7438477)
    "Good programmer's copy, great programmer's steal!!"

    meh.. I got nothing.
  • Any point? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by henc ( 671554 ) * <> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:59PM (#7438493) Homepage
    I'm not into this case, but at a first glance it seem to me that Geronimo really is just what JBoss is, right ? - So what's the point in remaking it? JBoss is already free? (LGPL!)

    • by cscx ( 541332 )
      On the same note, I guess it would be appropriate to ask the Gnome developers why Gnome needs five clocks... []
    • Re:Any point? (Score:5, Informative)

      by heathm ( 174421 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:04PM (#7438546) Homepage
      That's exactly the problem. Geronimo is a project of the Apache Software Foundation and as such must be licensed under the ASF license. LGPL code cannont arbitrarily be relicensed.
      • I haven't read any of the Geronimo stuff in months, so this is all just impressions from the back of my mind. Can someone knowledgeable please clarify? I'm under the impression that the ASF has a strong working relationship with Sun, and has the intent of certifying Geronimo once it is complete. I think JBoss is not certified for cost reasons. I could be completely mistaken, but I remember hearing something about Sun agreeing to waive the certification fee for the ASF.
    • Different people choose different licenses for different reason under different circumstances for similar projects.
    • Maybe people want an alternative to something run by litigious jack-asses!
      • Ironically this trolling is basically accurate. Marc Fleury tells people who dare to ask if the manuals will be ready to suck his dick. []

        He's basically an arrogant prick. When the CoreDev [] guys resigned from the Jboss group he removed their commit privileges.

        I personally would never recommend JBoss here because of his behaviour. Geronimo will rock, and jboss will then really have to put Fleury in his place or face losing all their clients.
    • Well, if you want any documentation for JBoss (and trust me, the documentation for each version is needed because they keep changing the way configuration files work), you have to buy it. Apache will provide a STABLE way for configuration files to be used and there will be a set of HOW-TO's created.

      Personally, I'm looking at Cold Fusion.
  • Call out the lawyers!

    I mean, who couldn't see this coming, after the issues this summer?

    At least SCO had some verbatim (albeit legitimate) copying that they could show. This stuff isn't even exact, and in most cases it appears methods of operation have changed, variable names and defines have changed.

    I call bullshit.
    • OTOH, at least in this case, specific instances of code that has allegedly been copied from one to the other are provided.
      • They don't look like copies to me. Close relatives, yes. Accomplish the same task, yes. Comments identical? No. This is bogus bullshit.
        • They don't look like copies to me. Close relatives, yes. Accomplish the same task, yes. Comments identical? No.

          Although I tend to agree that the similarities are not interesting enough to get in a huff, I'd be interested in hearing whether or not Scott Deboy [] wrote the comment "Convert an integer passed as argument to a level. If the conversion fails, then this method returns the specified default."

          If he didn't write it, where did he get it? Perhaps both groups were borrowing from another source.
          • The similarity between the comments is interesting but could be explained by the fact that both examples are related to Log4j and the comment could have been copied from there. That first example, exhibit A in the PDF, is the one with the most noticeable differences in coding style.

            Ignoring differences that could be down to a source code formatter such as Jalopy, the JBoss programmer has declared almost all of his method parameters as final, which is not a common practice other than where it is explicitly

    • At least the JBoss lawyers pointed out three files that they claim were copied from the outset, AND they're willing to let ASF just remove any copied code. SCO did neither. You could only view SCO's copied code via NDA, and removing the code wasn't an option. Only much later, they decided to show a (fairly bogus) sample at the conference. I have yet to see a dozen press releases from JBoss claiming that ASF is destroying their business, and that ASF is unamerican, and trying to subvery copyright law.
  • XLevel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:02PM (#7438523)
    The first exhibit seems to be originally derived from: ex amples/customLevel/

    which is apache licensed in the first place.
    • relicensing (Score:3, Interesting)

      by morgue-ann ( 453365 )
      Which brings up an important question: can code be re-licensed by people other than the authors when the original license was less restrictive?

      Example: Alice in Wonderland is in the public domain. Peter Zelchenko made an ebook out of it with nice typography and claims copyright on the derived work. Can I cut the text & paste it into a document of mine?

      Example: the Almquist Shell (ash) seems to have been a contribution to some form of BSD Unix. It's also in busybox with a GPL at the top and a Berkel
      • Example: Alice in Wonderland is in the public domain. Peter Zelchenko made an ebook out of it with nice typography and claims copyright on the derived work. Can I cut the text & paste it into a document of mine?

        Yes, that's most likely how Peter Zelchenko got the text to begin his nice typography project. Since the work is in pd, he can't claim copyright on that, only on the presentation. Much like suse cd images are copyright so you shouldn't just copy them for other people, but all of the software
        • Actually, I don't believe you can do that. When using public domain music or books, one must work from urtext. The urtext is the work that originally went into the public domain. It is the urtext that cannot have ownership claimed over it. A cleaned up version of the urtext would be a derived work and the editor can indeed claim copyright over his version.

          Music publishing companies are rabid on the subject. They've been known to change a few notes randomly in their printings of things like old classic
      • You can take BSD code and GPL it on a branch, by retaining the BSD rules and adding GPL stuff.

        Which is why JBoss bundles so much apaches stuff. They do seem to leave the Apache license on source they dont change; I dont know what they do with stuff they cut and paste in to their own modules. Though judging by the XLevel example above they may take the SCO route: forget the origin and then get the lawyers to start threating people about it.

      • IANAL, but my take on it follows.

        [...] can code be re-licensed by people other than the authors when the original license was less restrictive?

        If the original license specifies that this is allowed, then sure. Otherwise, consult the original copyright holder. In general I would say that the BSD license does allow this if the required text block is included in any source copies (though the older BSD license also required mention in the final documentation of even a binary-only distribution; I believe thi
      • 1) I'm worried that someone will claim ash is GPL and I must release the source.

        How come? Just slap GPL on it? Basically BSD license says if you redistribute code you must retain copyright notice and list of conditions within source code. So you can't change it. One may add some code to it and have GPLed additions.

        BTW ash is a shell distributed with FreeBSD. You may use FreeBSD's source which is guaranteed BSD licensed.

  • by hazem ( 472289 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:04PM (#7438541) Journal
    I'm no expert coder, but these don't look the same to me. There are similarities, but one would presume they are doing the similar things.

    One of the functions is to convert an integer to a level. How many different ways could you do actually do this? Another function converts a string.

    If you assign a class to write functions that would change variable types. All 30 people will come up with different code, but the code is likely to look very similar - especially if you're encouraging them to use proper function/variable naming and comments.

    Kudos to JBoss for posting the code, but I don't see much here to be suing over.
    • They aren't suing anyone. This isn't even a cease and dissist letter. They're informing the ASF that they have concerns over possible LPGL license infringement and are bringing their concerns to the ASF. I think that there is a great risk of code being copied over, I think JBoss LLC has a right and obligation to defend the LGPL, and the ASF should be careful that code isn't making its way from JBoss into their implementation without the permission of the copyright holder.
  • by TLouden ( 677335 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:06PM (#7438563)
    Which one is SCO and which is IBM, I'm a little slow on this stuff.
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <> on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:07PM (#7438570)
    JBoss has noticed similarities and has raised the issue (a second time) with Geronimo.

    Geronimo has requested that all developers confirm that either a) they didn't just submit JBoss code or b) they had the right as the original creators of the JBoss code section to also submit it to Geronimo.

    No FUD. No hyperbole in extremis. No crazed threats. Oh, wait: No SCO. Of course. What a breath of fresh air.

    • by jimjag ( 68949 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:22PM (#7439360) Homepage
      JBoss has noticed similarities and has raised the issue (a second time) with Geronimo.

      Minor nit: This is actually the first time this was raised directly. Early on, the ASF was contacted by JBoss simply to "remind" us that JBoss is covered under GPL and that any derived code could not be relicensed (under the Apache License). At the time, no real work on Geronimo had been done so that there was no actual code that could be shown to be similar. The above leaves the impression that the ASF had ignored a previous notice from JBoss, which is certainly not the case.
    • Don't worry, slashdot posters will blow it out of perspective by morning.
    • No FUD. No hyperbole in extremis. No crazed threats. Oh, wait: No SCO. Of course. What a breath of fresh air.

      Don't worry, SCO will lay claim to it all tomorrow. They already have, you know.

      In the mean time, you are right, people who don't smoke crack will figure the issue out.

  • by Kentamanos ( 320208 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:10PM (#7438600)
    Check out the source code on page 8. Since when is the copyright symbol allowable in Java syntax?
  • by ikkyikkyikkypikang ( 214791 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:11PM (#7438606)
    In the example on page 8 of the letter you can see they are BOTH attempting to copyright the freaking SWITCH construct!

    This post (c) 2003, Knights who say Ni, LTD.
  • SCO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dark Fire ( 14267 ) <> on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:11PM (#7438608)
    A letter like that is really all everyone has been asking for from SCO. JBoss is doing this to protect their code. It makes you wonder why SCO hasn't done the same already. Unless of course their actions are not at all about protecting their source code and patents. Reminds of that bible story where King Solomon must decide a dispute over a newborn child. JBoss reacted in the interests of protecting their code, SCO has not. From this simple story, we see whose intentions are what they claim to be, and whose are not.

    On a side note, SCO's recent behavior has made it clear as to who the puppetmaster of this debacle really is:

    Here are two quotes from the Computer Business Review:

    "SCO would probably provide customers with financial incentives and discounts to migrate to SCO Unix, other vendors' Unix, and what he referred to as 'other proprietary operating systems' but probably Windows."

    "'We are offering a migration path to other operating systems that have a stronger IP basis than Linux,' the spokesperson said. Incentives will be offered 'in the coming months.'"

    If that move doesn't reveal the puppetmaster, nothing will.

    I sincerely doubted Microsoft's involvement for a while, this time though, the paranoid /.ers were on the money.
  • For the next two months, JBoss will license portions of its code to Geronimo's developers and users for half off, only $699!

  • Okay... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:15PM (#7438652)
    I'm not clear about whether you really violated somebody's copyright if you looked at an LGPLed work and followed the same basic design structure to write your own work. I mean, the many instances of things like bean accessors/mutators having the same names and basic implementations are endemic to Java. Then there's stuff like logging based on other Apache licensed work.

    It does sound like there were a few particular instances where a class' design and the set of methods in the class were directly patterned on the JBoss design - not necessarily copied line-by-line, but the solution to a fundamental part of the J2EE specification "problem" was ripped from JBoss and modified to suit the code needs of Geronimo. Whether this is violation of copyright or not is a tough question. Copyright doesn't protect a design pattern, a solution to a problem, the logical organization of a set of objects, or an algorithm. Proving that somebody actually violated copyright in this case seems rather hard to me - though perhaps a bit of credit to the JBoss folks for their thoughts and design work is in order.

    • Every developer will decide for themselves but it is pretty clear to me that a number of Geronimo parts were indeeed inspired by some JBoss code. I completely understand Marc Fleury's attitude. If Geronimo was borrowing code from my projects without proper authorization, I know I would be pissed off. Heck, if Geronimo was borrowing code from any project non-compatible with the ASF license, I would be pissed of (as a potential user who believes in and respects the various Open Source licenses). If that was
  • Common origin? (Score:5, Informative)

    by shamir_k ( 222154 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:19PM (#7438688) Homepage
    The first example in the letter is
    org.jboss.logging.XLevel vs. org.apache.geronimo.core.log.XLevel
    Both seem to be copied from log4j's examples.customLevel.XLevel
    However, there are much more substantial allegations made here []
  • Sketchy at best... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VirtualUK ( 121855 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:20PM (#7438691) Homepage
    At what level though do you say that source was copied? Obviously the code isn't a 100% match, and for each problem a coder faces there is a shortest distance/most efficient solution, what's not to say that two developers wouldn't reach similar conclusions? Seeing as some of the exhibits were based around logging which is a very common task which I'd figure that a large portion of projects tackle the problem in the same fashion, I fail to see you could point out that someone had copied the solution if it was the best answer and other people could arrive at the same conclusion.

    If it was a line for line copy then I can see it being different, but IMHO I think there are sufficient difference between the two portions of code. Personally I think if JBoss doesn't have better things to do with it's time and money it should slash the cost of its ridiculously expensive (and pathetic) documentation and spend some time improving it instead!
    • I've been teaching programming for a bit now and get copied assignments from students often enough. I'm sure I don't find them all but I think I find a fair number of them and these code snippets would not have even begun to arouse my suspicions.

      Perhaps there is more that is stronger evidence, but this is seriously unconvincing.

  • How could this be avoided? Both are implemented against the same guidelines, using the same suggested/implied patterns. I guess it's just a matter of who did it first a this point. Java's syntax does not allow for (thankfully) a million different ways of expressing the same idea (at the lanuage level anyway). Given the pervasiveness of design patterns, it's not unlikely that large pieces of architecture will be functionally and syntactically similar. And given that both are open source software, what are th
  • by rkww ( 675767 )
    Maybe this is just an artefact of the way these program samples were generated, but it's pretty obvious that the author's name in the 'author' comment at the foot of the left-hand column on page seven (of the pdf of the original complaint letter) is in a completely different font to that of the rest of the code on that page: check out for instance the 'g' character.
  • Bad Move! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Umm... aren't you supposed to sue for gobs of money before you show the infringements? Don't they know how our legal system works?!
  • I had never heard of Geronimo before, so I did the lemming thing and clicked on the link in the article and got the message in the subject. Now I'm not sure about you, but is it telling me that I should revisit their website after I feel relieved by urinating?
  • by butane_bob2003 ( 632007 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:31PM (#7438805) Homepage
    The JBoss code and the Apache code both appear to be copied from an example that was originally created by Apache. Exibit A and B are both logging classes, both use Log4J (Apache's logging utility) and can be expected to be similar. Exibit C looks Almost identical, but not entirely. The similarities are so trivial, Apache is bound to make a few quick changes and be done with this thing before it starts. What sillyness.
  • Well DUH!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ChaseTec ( 447725 ) <> on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:33PM (#7438824) Homepage
    Did anyone not see this coming? And if you didn't here's why you should have:

    Mark Fleury's original response to Apache Geronimo
    As our customers know, we are a business, a serious one and we seriously believe in and defend "professional open source". That includes legal protection of IP. Make no mistakes, JBoss will AGGRESIVELY defend its copyright and LGPL license.

    And from the Elba [] website
    Think of Elba as a latticework for Geronimo--and as a shield to buffer the Geronimo codebase and CVS repository from any LGPL code. As Geronimo is built, its code will replace the code from Elba, bit by bit until there's nothing left in Elba at all. At that time, Elba will cease to exist and only Geronimo will remain; we'll have a big party and you're all invited.

    So if Geronimo is being developed as outlined at the Elba website then they'd have to have the exact same method signatures....

  • Not copied? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:39PM (#7438891) Homepage

    Looking at the code as a programmer, some things stand out:

    1. The "copying" JBoss claims doesn't fit. There's differences in braces, keywords and other things that wouldn't be accounted for by automatic reformatting of code. I can't see a programm who's copying code directly going back in and doing that kind of editing. I'd expect braces to be maintained, for example, yet in several places they aren't.
    2. The similar names are obvious names for types, variables and functions. Given the same spec to start from, without having seen the JBoss code at all, I'd pick the same names.
    3. The places they cite as having code-structure similarity are very simple. Frankly, it looks to me like there's only one sane way to write that code.
    It can't hurt to do a check, but I suspect JBoss is seeing copying where there's just only one obvious way to do something and most programmers, working independently, will make basically the same set of choices for that code.
    • Re:Not copied? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <> on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:29PM (#7439430) Homepage Journal
      You're assuming by "copying" he means "cut and paste." Not at all. Copying could be somebody who read the JBoss code (which is open, and pretty good. I read quite a bit of it myself trying to decide whether it was a viable alternative to the ghastly expensive BEA WebSphere) writing identical functions for Geronimo. A bit like aspiring artists copying a famous painting, only much more illegal. Alternatively, it could be some well meaning developer thinking that "clean room" just means he has to retype it.

      I've seen a lot of aspiring programmers retype what's "in the book" and consider it their own work. It's entirely possible a contributor to Geronimo did the exact same thing.
      • It's BEA WebLogic -- WebSphere is an IBM product (even more ghastly).
      • Re:Not copied? (Score:3, Informative)

        by j3110 ( 193209 )
        So, are you saying that by reading the JBoss code that is freely available that if I make a method similar to one of theirs I could be target of some legalities?

        I think this is a patent vs copyright issue.
        Copyrights protect from direct copying, patents protect from copying ideas.

        Is JBoss's API copyrighted would be the question that I would be looking at. The J2EE API may or may not be copyrighted as well, but JBoss doesn't hold that copyright.

        I think it's fair game to steal design from any unpatented so
  • It's a shame (Score:2, Interesting)

    by macrealist ( 673411 )
    Two open source projects quibiling over licences instead of producing software, and the project with the less restrictive licence needing to "re-invent the wheel."

    What is the reason in "redesigning" an open source project under a different license? Is JBoss so poorly written that it can't be the base of another LGPL project? Is the Apache license so much better for open source projects that it needs to be done?

    In the immortal words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" There sould be no issu
  • another view... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Famanoran ( 568910 )
    Given the similarities between this and the SCO, Linux claims, is it possible that this could be a "ploy" by the JBoss people to establish a public precedent for the GPL?

    I mean, if the public see Apache and JBoss figuring it out, could the outcry against SCO and their detrimental case against Linux be enough to quash it?
  • JBoss vs. SCO (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Empyrean9 ( 719902 )
    After reading the letter, and looking through the exhibits it is evident that this particular Apache project has a systemic problem. In reading much of the preceding posts it would appear that many people equate this letter with the action taken by SCO, and are thus opposed to granting it any merit. On the contary, this is far from the opaque stance taken by the aforementioned SCO. The JBoss Group has shown specific instances of infringement, whereas SCO has not.

    What many do not seem to understand, is tha
  • This is probably not a very popular point of view, but it seems to me that if these groups really had altruistic intentions they would use a license that allows and encourages copying of each other's code, like Public Domain. These restrictive licenses seem awfully stingy. What are they so worried about? That IBM will copy their code? So what if they do? Source code wants to be shared, and restrictive licenses and lawsuits are a long way from sharing.
  • A L/GPL project is defending itself against license violations. Why is there such a negative reaction to this? The best reason I can think of is that the project's lawyers wrote a warning letter. But isn't that what the FSF does? Or is it because the project is for-profit? I thought everyone wants OS for-profit to succeed. Or maybe it's because another OS project was threatened? This is certainly not the first time that GPL advocates attacked other OS projects for using non-compatible licenses. So what's th
  • "clownery" ! :) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sacrilicious ( 316896 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @09:20PM (#7439975) Homepage
    If you go to the Geronimo website (, you'll see this delightful text at the top of the page:
    Wiki temporarily locked to prevent slashdot clownery - go through the usual channels to get read-write admin access
  • by SuuSt ( 151462 )
    I'm confused, whose supposed to be the bad guy here? I'm too lazy to decide for myself.
  • more dirt (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Found this on TSS. Looks pretty crazy that a Geronimo developer admits in a CVS comment that it is derived code.


    "As an open source developer I choose to submit my code under LGPL because it ensures me that this code will remain open source, yet the license is flexible enough to allow for embedding. When I first became aware of Geronimo, I took a look through the codebase just for kicks and was deeply concerned that some of my code was derived from or distributed under the ASL license.

    As an example, bel
  • The code looks similar. So what.

    Thery're going after the same problem. After a while, all the solutions are going to look the same. A lot of people have written similar code (abstraction on top of log4j, etc.). I've copied naming conventions & idioms from stuff I read in the Jakarta Commons source. Is that illegal?

    If they're so bent on protecting this stuff, they should file a patent. Drumroll...snare. OK, that was sarcasm.

    More seriously, I think the JBoss project needs a good dose of modesty. They h
  • Speaking as a professional programmer for the past 9 years, including much Java work, all of the similarities that are documented in that letter look like they are due to:

    A) Both systems calling into the same API (IBM's log4j), which has a fixed interface, so of course the code is going to look similar


    B) Both systems implementing the same API, namely J2EE, which also has a fixed interface with well known conventions.

    This is *insane*. By the same logic, and with a much more convincing looking '

  • This just goes to show that neither JBoss nor ASF are truly "open source" entities in the philosophical sense.

    It is my opinion that, for open source organizations, the primary benefit of copyright is to prevent a third party from taking code, making it closed, and profitting from it. It's SOLE purpose should be to defend against capitalistic exploitation. Unless the JBoss people can convince me that Apache is maliciously and willfully trying to damage their project, I will count them among the SCO-like ho

  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @01:23AM (#7441549)
    Posted By: Jim Jagielski on November 10, 2003 @ 03:49 PM in response to Message #101148.
    Just a short note: It is, and has always been, the stated baseline of Geronimo that it not contain any (L)GPL code, whether JBoss derived (in legally specified copyright sense) or not. It's not for any political reasons (and I'm glad to see that this is not degrading into such a forum) but simply because of the letter and spirit of the Apache License. It should also be noted that Geronimo itself is an "project in incubation" within the ASF. It is not (yet) a formal, official ASF project (or subproject under one of the other top level ASF projects). If there is any (L)GPL code within Geronimo, or code that is derived from (L)GPL code (in the legal sense), it will be stripped and replaced. That's just the way it is and it's the way the ASF has always operated.

    Also, it should be noted that some exhibits referred to are no longer applicable. For example, Geronimo's Invocation class was entirely rewritten from what was noted in the letter. In other cases, the similarities are due to the fact that they are simple (and trivial) extensions. With XLevel, org.apache.log4j.Level is itself extended, which imposes and provides some of the common structure and names. It has also been noted that for PatternParser, the similarities come from the fact that both code bases implement "nested diagnostic contexts" as described by Neil Harrison in "Patterns for Logging Diagnostic Messages", which can be found in the book "Pattern Languages of Program Design 3", published in 1997 by Addison-Wesley (ISBN: 0201310112). Apache Log4J implements this class in org.apache.log4j.NDC. This class describes how it is to be used, including the use of a "distinctive stamp."
  • by sir_cello ( 634395 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @06:09AM (#7442502)

    There's no protection in copyright law for copying ideas, style and design (this is why we have patent and design protection). There's nothing to stop one person reading a copyright protected work, and extracting basic ideas, style, themes, etc and using that in their own work.

    So, there's nothing that can stop one programmer from looking at one set of code, and then walking away and producing an independent version of similar design, but different expression. This could mean that there are similar functions and mechanisms, but looking at the detail it would be obvious that they might be similar, but are not exact copies.

    There's a difference here between commercial strategy of clean-room software development. In clean-room approach, what you're getting around is not just copyright, but issues of commercial confidentiality and so on. Confidentiality is not a problem with open source software.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern