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From Jason Davies <>
Subject Re: Third-party dependencies in CouchDB
Date Mon, 10 Aug 2009 13:37:20 GMT
Hi Curt,

I've already replied to your "Dependencies in SVN" thread in more  
depth on couchdb-dev@ [1] so I'll only repeat the essentials here.

To summarise: Niclas is correct in that there is no problem with  
bundling third-party dependencies with an ASF project as long as their  
licenses are all ASL-compatible.  I have authoritative comments on  
this from legal-discuss@ and it has been added to the ASF Legal  
"Previously Asked Questions" page: 
  (although it may take a while before it synchronises from SVN).

If you have any further questions about this please bring it up on the  
couchdb-dev@ mailing list, or if you need further clarification about  
legal matters, please bring it up on legal-discuss@ as suggested below.


Jason Davies

On 9 Aug 2009, at 11:54, Niclas Hedhman wrote:

> Curt,
> Two things come to my mind immediately, and this is without reading  
> your
> references (might do that when I'm back at a computer).
> 1. CouchDb graduated long ago, and is no longer the concern of the  
> Incubator
> in particular. If you have legal concerns that the CouchDb doesn't  
> want to
> address, I suggest you seek further info from legal-discuss, and if  
> it isn't
> of legal nature, go to the Board or Membership with the concerns...
> 2. Speaking from a legal perspective, there is nothing "at Apache"  
> that
> prevents people for doing source code copy, in small or large (a.k.a  
> forks),
> PROVIDED that the license allows it. I saw you mentioning BSD  
> (modified I
> hope) and MIT X, and those licenses require attribution and few other
> things, so if that is done, there is no legal contention here. Now  
> you said
> that Apache doesn't fork... well the reason behind that (I think) is  
> that we
> are all lazy, it takes a lot of energy to maintain forks. And we  
> don't do it
> to compete with the original project, out of courtesy... is that your
> complaint?
> I appreciate your concerns, just target the right audience and  
> preferably
> with the invitation of the CouchDb PMC...
> -- Niclas
> On Aug 9, 2009 5:48 PM, "Curt Arnold" <> wrote:
> I've been using CouchDB in my personal development and have recently  
> started
> trying to get up to speed with the project itself.  I've brought up  
> a few
> issues on where I encountered things that  
> were a bit
> unsettling.  There has been follow up discussion, but no resolution  
> and no
> one who can speak authoritatively on where the line is on certain  
> issues.
> A recent patch introduced the source code of a BSD-licensed project
> (erlang_oauth) into the CouchDB SVN.  There was no mention of the  
> addition
> of the dependency in the patch and the license file for the project  
> was not
> included (which required including the license and disclaimers).   
> Digging a
> little more, I found that another non-ASL code base (ibrowse) was  
> added to
> the SVN in January, again with missing license, no notice in the  
> submission,
> traffic in the mailing list.  There is a third code base (mochiweb)  
> that was
> in the source during incubation which was noted in the April 2008  
> board
> report:
> On Apr 14, 2008, at 11:07 AM, Noel J. Bergman wrote:
> ....
>> === CouchDB ===
>> CouchDB is a distributed document-oriented database system written in
>> Erlang. The project entered incubation on February 12th, 2008.
>> The infrastructure (SVN, JIRA, mailing lists, and web-site) has  
>> been set
>> up,
>> and the team has moved source, documentation, and bug reports from  
>> their
>> former homes to the ASF.
>> Work has continued on removing code forked from other projects from  
>> the
>> CouchDB codebase. This includes Mozilla !SpiderMonkey, the code for  
>> which
>> was previously included with CouchDB in slightly modified form.  
>> Instead, it
>> is now treated as an external compile-time dependency via a custom C
>> wrapper
>> using the !SpiderMonkey API. Also, work is currently in progress on
>> replacing the dependency on a forked version of `inets`, which is  
>> part of
>> the Erlang standard library (EPL), with the MIT-licensed !MochiWeb  
>> library.
>> For the time being, the !MochiWeb code is included in the CouchDB  
>> codebase,
>> mostly because there has been no official release of that library  
>> yet.
> That point indicated that the direction was to remove external  
> codebases
> from the CouchDB source tree.  The mochiweb and ibrowse have slightly
> diverged from the base project, so in essence (but not likely in  
> intent)
> CouchDB has forked those projects.
> I requested that the erlang_oauth commit be reverted until we had a
> clarification, but no action has been taken.
> The second issue is that there seemed to be a recurring pattern of
> significant contributors using Github for feature branches.  This  
> raised the
> possibility of the resulting patch not being the work of a single  
> individual
> and also removed the development history from the archives.
> I reported these issues in the following threads:
> The current question is:
> On Aug 8, 2009, at 1:39 PM, Paul Davis wrote:
> ..
>> Maybe its just me but I haven't the slightest what problem this  
>> thread
>> is trying to solve. Why would we even think about removing our  
>> runtime
>> dependencies from SVN? I know someone suggested it in thread this
>> conversation forked from but I never read discussion about why this
>> would be good or necessary.
> I'm having problems pointing to a definitive statement that says  
> that these
> are things that an Apache project doesn't do, but am struggling to  
> come up
> with anything definitive.
> I would appreciate review of these threads and appropriate  
> participation
> from the Incubator PMC.
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