[logback-dev] License (again)

Ralph Goers rgoers at apache.org
Thu Jun 11 16:59:31 CEST 2009


There are an infinite number of cases where no one outside of a  
particular company, or even a business unit of a company, would have  
any interest in some of these Appenders. Customers might not even want  
them when the product is sold externally. But to avoid having to go  
through the hassle of what you describe below, but still be in  
compliance with the license, all the LGPL'd code would need to by  
physically kept separate from all the other code to avoid it being  
distributed. This is just painful to manage.

Setting up servers or creating code bases to manage tiny bits of code  
is almost nonsensical in its practically. The cost of the hardware,  
software and people time to manage just isn't worth the effort and is  
even less appealing than separating the code.

This isn't about proprietary code. I simply guarantee you that you  
would not be interested in accepting the Appenders in these cases, as  
they have no value to the general public.  For example, in some cases  
database appenders might be written to log to some pre-existing  
database schema. Why would the community want that? In my case, we  
have an Appender that I wrote and hate, but can't kill because it  
interacts with our legacy system. I would never distribute it, but for  
simplicity it is packaged with other general purpose stuff, none of  
which has the LGPL distribution restrictions. To manage this I will  
have to create a new isolated project with this single class just to  
avoid this issue.

While the intent of the LGPL is fine - and I agree with it for the  
core of Logback, Appenders should be considered to be like plug-ins  
that can act as adapters to other systems. In that sense it is better  
for them to use the license of the system they are adapting with, not  
the LGPL. This is very similar to the reason why the Application using  
Logback needs to be free to use whatever license it wants. This isn't  
really an extension of Logback but simply a case of wanting to be able  
to plug it into an existing system.


On Jun 11, 2009, at 12:51 AM, Ceki Gulcu wrote:

> Hello Ralph,
> The copyleft clauses of the LGPL mandate that classes derived from
> Appender need to be distributed under the LGPL. However, I don't see
> why your employer needs to distribute the source code for the
> appenders it developed within their product. It could be distributed
> in a multitude of other ways. You could create an open source project
> on source forge, you could contribute the new appenders to the logback
> project, heck, you could create a single web-page on a server. I am
> sure that at this time and age, one can find an economical way to
> distribute software.
> While the liberal ethos of weak licenses have their appeal, the
> copyleft has merits of its own. I mean it doesn't need to be always
> take take take.
> Ralph Goers wrote:
>> It occurred to me that any custom Appenders written for Logback  
>> must be licensed under the LGPL since they have to extend Logback  
>> base classes. Is it possible to change the license for Appender,  
>> AppenderBase and UnsynchronizedAppenderBase to something more  
>> liberal?  I know my employer wouldn't be too thrilled to have to  
>> distribute the source for Appenders along with their product.
> -- 
> Ceki Gülcü
> Logback: The reliable, generic, fast and flexible logging framework  
> for Java.
> http://logback.qos.ch
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