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Re: Question on licensing for HTTPAPI

Hi Michael,

Before I say anything, I just want to clarify that I Am Not A Lawyer
(IANAL).  Everything I say in this message is my interpretation of the
license agreements, and as IANAL, may be incorrect.

> I think my employer might actually install it, if I can claim their
> irrational fears about licenses and copyrights. From the LICENSE MBR I
> see that your code is OK to use, as you have told me before, but the
> EXPAT stuff has some MBRs that show MS information. For example:

Expat can be built and installed on many different operating systems,
including most flavors of Unix, Windows, etc.  The EXPAT.DSP and
EXPATW.DSP members are tools to aid with building Expat using Microsoft
Developer Studio.

AFIAK, they're unrelated in any way to the license.  They're just tools
for building the project on a Microsoft platform.  Just because the
compiler that those members are intended to be used with happens to be
created by Microsoft doesn't mean that Microsoft has any claim to the

Similarly, I include INSTALL and MKEXPATCL members in the QCLSRC file that
help you build Expat on the System i.  Just because IBM owns the CL
compiler does not mean that IBM has any claim to the code that I wrote in
those members.

> Are they part of some other O/Ss build process? If so can I get rid of
> them if we will only be using an AS/400?

Yes, they're used in a Windows build.  They're unrelated to building it on
i5/OS, and if you delete them they'll have no effect on the build.
However, it doesn't do any harm to include them, either.

The actual license info for Expat is in the COPYING member of the EXPAT
file.  It says that you have the right to deal in the software without
restriction, including the ability to copy, modify, merge, publish,
distribute, sublicense and/or sell copies of it, and permit others to do
so with the sole condition that you must include the copyright and
permission statement.

Take a look at the COPYING member of the EXPAT file for full details.

For HTTPAPI itself, look at the LICENSE member of the QRPGLESRC file.  It
has a slightly different set of conditions, but it amounts to the same
thing. If you distribute the code, you must reproduce the copyright, list
of conditions, and disclaimer.

This protects me and/or the authors of Expat by ensuring that we're always
given credit for our work, and that we do not provide a warranty or be
held liable for any damages that come from the use of our software.

It's a very liberal license, making it possible to use the software in
just about any scenario.

> Anything to help convience my boss that there is no problem with
> licensing would be appreciated.

Your boss may be thinking of the GNU Public License (GPL).  The GPL is the
most popular license among Open Source projects, but it has some strict
restrictions, including that the software, and any software distributed
with it or derived from it must always be made available in an open source

However, I use the FreeBSD (or "2 clause BSD") license, which is much more
liberal than the GPL.  The Expat code is under the MIT license which is
very similar to the BSD license, but worded slightly differently.

They basically let you do whatever you like, as long as you leave the
copyright, disclaimer and conditions intact. This is important, because
they mean that I can't "yank the rug" out from under you. For example,
the WRKDBF utility was a free software that became very popular in i5/OS
circles... it did not include the source code, it did not give you the
right to re-distribute it yourself, and did not give you the right to
maintain it yourself.   When the author decided to discontinue it, that
was it... nobody can get it or distribute it anymore without breaking the
law.  People who want to use it are "up the creek" so to speak.

This can't happen with HTTPAPI or EXPAT.  If I, or the Expat developers,
decide they don't want to continue to support the product you (and
everyone else) have the right to put it on your web site and distribute it
and everyone can keep using it.  The only restriction is that you have to
maintain my copyright (with my name on it) going forward.

Almost no other software you use will give you as many rights as HTTPAPI.
For sure, Microsoft's EULA doesn't give you that.  If Microsoft decides to
discontinue software, there's pretty much nothing you can do about it
(other than complain, of course!)  And they've done that, many times,
they've discontinued products because they're "too old" or not selling
enough to warrant supporting them, etc.

IBM is the same as Microsoft.  If they decide to discontinue RPG or i5/OS,
or whatever, what happens to your investment in that software?  I know
what you're thinking, "but, IBM would never do that!"  Yeah, sure... tell
that to all the OfficeVision customers.

Something to think about, anyway...
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