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Productization of the Java application with the phoneME

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yyoss
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Joined: 2009-03-18
Points: 0

Dear global intellectuals,

We have been offering embedded devices and Java applications running
on them as our products since 1997.
We'd like to offer the new products that replaced a current commercial
JavaVM with a phoneME.

So, we have two important questions.
a) Because the Java applications are our products, we want to avoid
GPL from applying to the Java applications. Is that possible?
b) To do that, what should we do before offering our products?

Particularly we'd like Bruno and Terrence to advise us on the questions if possible.
Because we are referring to the following thread,
http://forums.java.net/jive/thread.jspa?threadID=20101&tstart=0

We understand that the conclusion of that thread is Bruno's clarification.
I attach that as below.
Bruno suggested discussing with Sun, so please let me know the person
in charge whom we should discuss with.

Bruno wrote:
>
> - the GPL applies when you distribute the code, not when you run the code.
>
> - Developers of JME applications generally do _NOT_ distribute the
> VM, the VM is already installed in the device.
>
> - The end user of the GPL ME VM can run application with any license
> on top of that VM, he is not distributing the VM.
>
> - A developer that distributes only the application does not need to
> care what is the licensing of the VM the code will run on, he is
> not distributing the VM.
>
> - If a developer creates a new version of the ME VM and distribute
> it, the GPL copyleft applies to the modified ME VM.
>
> - If a developer for any reason distributes the GPL ME VM with
> pre-installed applications, the GPL copyleft properties will also
> be triggered, and will affect the applications. That means that
> phone manufacturers and also cell phone operators will need to
> discuss licensing terms with Sun (what they would probably do
> anyway) or they will need to distribute their bundled applications
> under the GPL.
>

Our Java applications can work on both the commercial JavaVM and the phoneME commonly.
The current commercial JavaVM is the binary code that provided from a RTOS vender.
We know the phoneME modified for our device must follow the GPL.
So we are ready to provide the source code of the modified phoneME.

What we want to achieve is that
- Understanding the GPL correctly, and taking every possible measure to offer our products.
- Avoiding making trouble with Sun or FSF after we offer the products.

We distribute Java applications in JAR file as follows.
If there are any problems of the distribution method, please point out them.

- The Java applications are the optional products, the end user can choose the purchase of them.
- The end user purchase the CD-ROM that include the Java applications.
- The Java applications are installed to our device from a PC via a network.

Best Regards,
yyoss

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terrencebarr
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Joined: 2004-03-04
Points: 0

Sorry for the slow reply. Coming back from the holiday break ...

You reference the correct thread regarding this topic. First, the usual disclaimer that I am not a lawyer and you should consult your own legal advisor in case of licensing questions.

If I understand your distribution model correctly your end users will install the phoneME runtime and the Java application separately at different times - the two are not bundled. In this situation
your application is probably not subject to the GPLv2 terms that phoneME is licensed under.

Hope that helps,
-- Terrence

yyoss
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Joined: 2009-03-18
Points: 0

Dear Terrence,

Sorry for the late response.
I have some additional questions.

I couldn't completely understand the meaning of the word "bundled".
I describe another distribution model.
Does the following meet the conditions that the phoneME and the Java applications are not bundled?
1. The end user purchases the phoneME and the Java applications at a time.
2. We distribute them in a same CD-ROM.
3. He installs them in our device in order.
If this model doesn't meet the conditions, how do we have to distribute them?

Because again, what we must achieve is that avoiding making trouble with Sun after offering the products.
Can we achieve it if we make the phoneME and the Java applications not bundled and satisfy your conditions?

We hope to get an official opinion of Sun on this matter.
So I'm expecting an answer from Mr. Souza.
I think that he is one of the open source communities directors.
Correct me if I'm wrong.

In addition, I intend to confirm the detailed interpretation of the GPL to the FSF compliance Lab.
Has Sun ever confirmed the interpretation of the GPL to the FSF?

Thanks in advance.
Sincerely yours,
yyoss

terrencebarr
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Joined: 2004-03-04
Points: 0

Hi again,

Just to clarify: The terms of the GPLv2 have been interpreted differently throughout the years by a number of people and institutions. Therefore, there is no 'single and uniform' interpretation - and that is why you need to talk to your own legal advisor for your specific situation. Neither I nor Sun Microsystems can do that for you.

My own personal opinion:

I am assuming the phoneME runtime and your Java application are separate (separate distribution packages and separate installs by the user). In this way, you could post the phoneME package and the Java application package on your website and the customer could download phoneME, install it, then download your Java application, and install that as well. Now, simply putting these two packages together on a CD-ROM for convenience purposes shouldn't change the situation and I wouldn't consider that to be "bundling".

PS: Unfortunately, Bruno Souza no longer works for Sun Microsystems so he won't be able to help on this matter.

Best,

-- Terrence

yyoss
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Joined: 2009-03-18
Points: 0

Dear Terrence,

Thank you for your pertinent and consistent advice.

> Just to clarify: The terms of the GPLv2 have been interpreted
> differently throughout the years by a number of people and
> institutions.
We understand the difficult situation that you described above.

Under this understanding, we'd like to ask you two more questions.
We think that they are simpler to answer than the previous questions.

(1) Does Sun have its own unified interpretation about the distribution conditions of the phoneME?
Of course we can understand that Sun cannot officially announce the concrete content of the interpretation to avoid trouble.

(2) How do Sun and the Java.net community think the phoneME is utilized by the third party essentially?
In other words, do Sun and the Java.net community want to prohibit the third party to work commercial applications on the phoneME, or allow it to do so like the OpenJDK?

We'll make proper judgments about the ambiguous interpretation of the GPLv2, after we correctly understand the purpose of the phoneME for the Sun and the Java.net community. Finally we'll make a decision for ourselves. However, it is important for us to follow the purpose of Sun and the Java.net community.

Thanks in advance.
Sincerely yours,
yyoss

terrencebarr
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Joined: 2004-03-04
Points: 0

Hi,

phoneME is a standard GPLv2-licensed open source project and I've already described Sun's position in the thread you've quoted. phoneME has been adopted by the developer community in a number of commercial and non-commercial projects.

If you believe that the GPLv2 terms are not acceptable for your product licensing you should know that phoneME is also available under a commercial license as part of the Sun Java Wireless Client product. If you are interested in such a license please contact me directly.

Thanks,
-- Terrence

yyoss
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Joined: 2009-03-18
Points: 0

Dear Terrence,

I understood that your explanation about the distribution conditions is based on the consensus in Sun on those, though it is not the official opinion legally. Correct me if I am wrong.

On your advice, there is an increasing possibility that we can distribute our commercial applications that work on the phoneME.

In addition, because we want to get details of the Sun Java Wireless Client product, I'll contact you later.

Sincerely yours,
yyoss