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Re: Merging Apple's Objective-C 2.0 compiler changes

On Thu, Sep 09, 2010 at 08:27:16PM +0100, Dave Korn wrote:
> On 09/09/2010 12:01, Mike Stump wrote:
> > On Sep 9, 2010,@3:11 AM, Nicola Pero wrote:
> >> Can we (legally) merge Apple's Objective-C / Objective-C++ modifications
> >> to GCC into FSF GCC trunk ?
> > 
> > My take, you'd have to ask either the FSF lawyers or Apple, I'm neither.
> > Chris Lattner could provide an Apple answer, I'd recommend contacting him.
>   We've just had a similar discussion on the binutils list about some changes
> in Atmel's AVR32 compilers, and the conclusion we arrived@was that this
> can't "just be done" by a third party, even in the presence of a blanket
> corporate assignment:
> >> If we start producing patches to the current FSF GCC trunk that merge
> >> these modifications, would they be accepted ?
> > 
> > Sure, after Apple or the FSF (or someone else around here) weighs in on the
> > matter.  I wouldn't expect it to be a problem, as Apple does have an
> > assignment and Apple does own the work in question and Apple does
> > distribute it to the general public under a GPL v 2 or later clause.  
>   But: the assignment only applies to patches that are *explicitly* submitted
> by the copyright holder to the FSF (via the -patches list or similar suitable
> mechanism) for inclusion in the upstream source base.  (Anything they only use
> internally rather than distribute, for example, they don't have to submit or
> assign, and even anything they distribute publicly, they aren't obliged to
> send upstream, just to fulfill the source guarantee to downstream recipients.)
>   *Until and unless* Apple itself submits the code to the FSF, Apple retains
> the copyright; which means that nobody else has the right to submit it to the
> FSF.  (Unless Apple gives /them/ (the hypothetical third party) an assignment
> that allows them to sub-assign.... but that sounds even more complicated to me.)
>     cheers,
>       DaveK

   Perhaps a rational approach would be to contact whoever at Apple currently is
charged with maintaining their objc languages about the issue. If the issue is
framed in terms of insuring that their definition of the Objective C language
has availability outside of their own platforms, the issue might have more
traction. The major question is what happens to their own internal branches?
Hopefully FSF tolerates the idea that their own internal GPLv2 branches retain
their same status and that only FSF trees with the contributed code exist under
GPL v3. That is the code effectively forks again at the contribution revision
point (just as if the relicensing of gcc at 4.2.1 had happened at a later date).

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