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From Kevan Miller <>
Subject Re: [VOTE] Release Kafka 0.7.1-incubating (Candidate 2)
Date Thu, 21 Jun 2012 19:35:58 GMT

On Jun 21, 2012, at 1:50 PM, Marvin Humphrey wrote:

> On Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 6:15 AM, Kevan Miller <> wrote:
>> On Jun 21, 2012, at 1:20 AM, Alan D. Cabrera wrote:
>>> With that said, I think it's something good and extremely useful to strive
>>> for.  The lack of it, i.e. extensive documentation in LICENSE/NOTICE with
>>> regards to transitive dependencies, is not a showstopper IMO unless there
>>> are explicit rules prohibiting it on the ASF rules.
>> I don't have a chapter and verse to quote you. I'll work on getting/creating
>> some clarification. I may not be able to start on that for the next few
>> days...
> I feel like I'm missing something.  There shouldn't be any difference between
> a first-order dependency and a transitive dependency.  All that matters is
> whether or not the dependency is bundled, right?[1]  Why would we need ASF
> rules regarding *transitive* dependency license documentation in particular?

Because Alan and I disagreed and nobody else had commented? ;-)

> So long as we bundle the bits, we have to bundle the licensing -- possibly
> bubbling up any relevant ALv2 NOTICE provisions into the top-level NOTICE
> since that's what the ALv2 requires.  On the other hand, if the bits aren't
> bundled, then the licensing shouldn't be bundled either.
> If the bundled dependencies of the canonical ASF source release and a
> convenience binary differ, then their licensing must be analyzed separately
> and may differ.
> If a project has a gazillion dependencies, regardless of whether those
> dependencies are direct or transitive, that makes dealing with licensing more
> challenging, but it doesn't change our legal obligations.

I think you and I agree. Though there may be some ambiguities in what we mean by direct or
transitive dependencies. So, attempting to clarify:

I think Alan's (Kafka's) position is that dependencies don't matter since they are not distributing
binary artifacts. 

I would agree with Alan, if Kafka source was simply intended to be used in source form. That's
not the case. The Kafka project is designed to be built/compiled into a distribution. So,
IMO, Kafka must document their dependencies. Note that if Kafka only had compile-time/test-time
dependencies and simply built .jar files (and someone else was responsible for bundling everything
together into a "distribution"), then I'd have a different opinion. 

In this case, the Kafka source release contains AL v2 licensed source code along with some
binary artifacts under several licenses (you're welcome to comment on this, also). The Kafka
LICENSE/NOTICE files only contain the licenses for this source code and the binary artifacts
contained within the source release. They don't document the dependencies that they will bundle
into a distribution. 


> Marvin Humphrey
> [1] Leaving aside concerns about copyleft, field of use restrictions, etc.
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