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From Jeremy Boynes <>
Subject Re: Geronimo Policy and effect on community
Date Sun, 16 Nov 2003 20:49:20 GMT
Vic, in response to one of your questions.

Vic Cekvenich wrote:

> 2. Just so we are using the right dictionary and are on the same page, 
> lets define a certain word in a hypothetical made up scenario.
> Lets say that that a commercially license product was refactored (it 
> could be any, but lets say JSF) lets say the vendor did not file a 
> patent on the design and that design was openly documented. Let's that 
> there was some legal loophole that would allow for refactoring.
> The process takes was to put the files in a modern IDE (it could be any, 
> but lets say InteliJ) refactor the package names, refactor the method 
> names, refactor the properties names (String), and then change the TLDs 
> to map the new packages/names. (These powerful refactoring tools only 
> become available quite recently; people that have been using Vi type 
> editors would be surprised at the power and ease)
> All the package names are renamed different, method names are different, 
> string names are different (A reasonable coder could do this to a 
> package of JSF size well within an hour work). The code would be 
> similar, since there are only so many GoF and other design patters, and 
> the JSF TcK and API are well documented so requirements are same in the 
> original RI JSF and the legally refactored JSF.
> These people did not take time to design and write it from scratch via 
> independent means, but copied and changed some things, and I stated that 
> this was legal in this example. For example, plagiarism as I understand 
> it, is a verbatim copy, but it is not plagiarism to copy and then change 
> a few things.
> Q: Would PMC say that this is an example of being (legal, but) 
> un-ethical, to refactor a design as I outlined here?

I can't speak for the PMC, but as the person who "refactored" JBoss(tm) 
into Elba, I can speak to that.

First, let us talk of plagiarism, from plagiarize, defined by 
Merriam-Webster as "to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of 
another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the 

Elba was a legitimate, LGPL licensed, freely available derivative of 
JBoss(tm). Its very home page stated it was a fork of JBoss(tm), 
clearing stating its source. All @author tags in the code were retained, 
acknowledging the contributions of all the people who had worked on the 
project. It should be clear to an impartial observer that credit was 
given to the source.

So why were all package names, classes, XML files and so forth renamed 
from JBoss(tm) to Elba? Simple, because JBoss(tm) is a registered 
trademark of Marc Fleury and he has stated that he will sue anyone who 
trys to use it. To quote his interview with eWeek: "If there's a new 
JBoss, if they fork it and call it JBoss I would sue them. There is only 
one version that we control.",4149,1123136,00.asp

By the way, he is right to do so - he must defend the mark. There is no 
doubt that this is a legal requirement, but whether it is ethical to 
trademark a community effort and then use that mark for commercial gain 
is an area I do not intend to discuss.


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