Friday, January 05, 2007

OSGi non-assert agreements

In a comment on Niclas Hedman's blog, Dalibor Topic wrote:

What weirds me out about OSGi is the licensing of the real specs:

"You are not authorized to create any derivative work of the Specification. The OSGi Alliance also grants you a perpetual, non-exclusive, worldwide, fully paid-up, royalty free, limited license (without the right to sublicense) under any applicable copyrights, to create and/or distribute an implementation of the Specification that: (i) fully implements the Specification including all its required interfaces and functionality; (ii) does not modify, subset, superset or otherwise extend the OSGi Name Space, or include any public or protected packages, classes, Java interfaces, fields or methods within the OSGi Name Space other than those required and authorized by the Specification. An implementation that does not satisfy limitations (i)-(ii) is not considered an implementation of the Specification, does not receive the benefits of this license, and must not be described as an implementation of the Specification. An implementation of the Specification must not claim to be a compliant implementation of the Specification unless it passes the OSGi Alliance Compliance Tests for the Specification in accordance with OSGi Alliance processes."

The silly talk about subsetting in that license makes Equinox, Felix and all the other OSGi implementations developed open to patent attacks from OSGi patent holders, since they are naturally going to be subsets until they implement whatever the current full specification is.

Are those compliance tests freely available somewhere, so that re-distributors can limit their liability to being attacked via software patents on OSGi, by checking which implementations actually conform to the tests?
His fears should be addressed, at least for OSGi R4, by OSGi's non-assert agreements which provide royalty free access to patents for implementers of OSGi. Implementations, in this sense, do not need to pass the TCK, although they must be "intended to accurately implement the normative portions of [the OSGi R4] specification (subject to normal, inadvertent programming errors)" and must not "intentionally introduce incompatibilities that hinder interoperability".

Implementers that want to claim OSGi compliance may obtain the OSGi R4 TCK in three ways:

  • Pay to join the OSGi Alliance.

  • Pay for the TCK as part of JSR 232.

  • I believe the JSR 232 TCK is available at no cost to qualifying open source projects and not-for-profit organisations.

I expect the same to be true of the OSGi R4 V4.1 TCK for JSR 291.

No comments:


OSGi (130) Virgo (59) Eclipse (10) Equinox (9) dm Server (8) Felix (4) WebSphere (3) Aries (2) GlassFish (2) JBoss (1) Newton (1) WebLogic (1)

Blog Archive