Firstly, I am not a lawyer I am just the autor of Byteman. So, any opinion I give you will be nothing more than that. If you want bullet proof guarantees you had better ask a lawyer. Having said that I canot answr you because I don't actually know what you mean by 'a syndicated jar'. Perhaps you could explain what you mean by this first.
While I have your ear I will take the opportunity to ask a question. What do you want to use byteman for?
Hi Andrew. Thank you for reply.
Well, by a "syndicated jar" I mean a single jar composed from my own classes and all their dependencies, which include byteman. This effectively mitigates classpath problems. One of ways to do this is using Uberjar (http://classworlds.codehaus.org/uberjar.html). I'm not sure I'll stick to this specific solution, but as an example it's worth mentioning.
I'm developing a solution which adds additional behavior to the target application by intercepting specific calls, for which I use byteman. Instead of having a set of jars and the need of providing paths to each of them to the byteman agent I want to repackage all this stuff to a single jar.
Since I'm not going to modify byteman's source code, this solution seems legal enough, but I want to be sure.
I'm afraid I cannot answer this question myself. I know there has been a lot of discussion, amateur and professional, concerning how the LGPL's notion of combining vs linking relates to Java's use of jar packaging. I am not qualified to comment on the correctness or otherwise of any interpretations offered. As a Red Hat employee, I would not want to prejudice the position of the company over commercial use of my/their copyrighted LGPL code by offering you my own uninformed opinion.
If you like I can send a note to our lawyers and ask them for a response which I can print. Otherwise, I can only suggest you read the fine print of LGPL 2.1 or later and take advice from your own lawyer
Well, if it won't bother you too much, I would be glad to get a response from your lawyers. I'm sure I'm not the only person who might be interested in the answer
According to my personal understanding of LGPL text, it doesn't restrict me to repackage the bynaries. However it's written in a manner quite difficult to comprehend, so I could miss something.
Thank you very much!
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I emailed Richard Fontana to ask him about your case. He is the the main lawyer in Red Hat's legal team who deals with copyright issues. I'm posting my question and his reply in full rather than editing or paraphrasing it as I don't want to risk misrepresenting him. Please note, as Richard emphasises in his reply, we cannot provide you with legal advice in this matter. If you require such advice you should consult your own independent lawyer.
On Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 10:35:09AM +0000, Andrew Dinn wrote:
> Hi Richard,
> Someone has just popped up with a legal question on the user forum
> for my Byteman project (http://www.jboss.org/byteman). He wants to
> know about commercial use of the code (it is licensed under LGPL).
> The problem is that he want to unwrap it from the jar I distribute
> and then rewrap it in a jar he distributes. Here is the link to the
> forum post.
> I don't know whether this is legal or not and I certainly didn't
> want to offer my own opinion. So, I told him he needs to ask a
> lawyer. Do you have any comments on this that I can publish? Or do
> you want to post to the forum yourself? Thanks for any advice you
> can offer.
My view is that he can do this if he complies with the LGPL as to the
Byteman classes: that is, even if he does not modify any Byteman
source code, he must assume his users may wish to obtain the source
code for any part of his jar that comes from Byteman, so he must make
that source code available. He can either distribute it himself, or
point to some other location from which it may be obtained, although
then he has the burden of making sure that the source remains
available from that location. If he actually modifies any Byteman
classes he must of course provide the modified source code
directly. He must also comply with the LGPL by providing a copy of the
license and otherwise informing users that the code he's distributing
is partly based on LGPL-licensed code. If he does all of that, then
there is no restriction on how he can license his jar, including his
own classes and any third-party code, other than limits on the extent
to which he can prohibit reverse engineering (as stated in the LGPL).
If you prefer I can post this to the forum - let me know. If you post
the answer be sure to emphasize, as I think you already have, that we
can't provide him with legal advice.
This is quite helpful. I will also consult a lawyer at our side as you suggested.
Thanks a lot!