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License question - QPL vs. SCM
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Date: 2008-04-09 (15:21)
From: Xavier Leroy <Xavier.Leroy@i...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] License question - QPL vs. SCM
> My question for INRIA's lawyers (or anyone else in some official
> capacity to answer) involves using a Source Code Manager (SCM) whose
> distribution method has structure: source + patch1 + patch2 + ....  The
> SCM would do the lifting of combining the two into the final tree, just
> as a script could easily wget an original source file and a list of
> patches and combine them into the final tree.
> Would using such a SCM to organize and distribute compiler source
> violate OCaml's license?
> Would using such a SCM make the Gods of OCaml angry?  :)  I don't intend
> to slip through a legal crack, I just want to work efficiently, and
> trying to manage patches without such a system seems like madness, like
> Linux kernel development before BitKeeper (I imagine).

The QPL talks only about distribution of derived software.  To
organize your work and that of your co-developers, everything goes.

If you wish to stick to the letter of the QPL, you can always not give
public access to your SCM repository, and do your public distribution
as a patch against the original Caml sources.  Your SCM will very
conveniently generate this patch.  It's no more work than distributing

This said, I believe the spirit of the QPL is that anyone can easily
see what parts of your derived work are original work and what parts
are unchanged from the OCaml sources.  In this view, as mentioned
earlier in this thread, modified sources + original sources is
just as good as original sources + patch.

However, a public SCM repository is more than just a set of (original
sources, modified sources) pairs.  In particular, if your repository
contains several versions of the original OCaml sources (because you
track our releases), it might not be clear which version of the
original sources correspond to which version of your modified
sources. So, some changes that we have made may appear like you made
them, which isn't quite in the spirit of the QPL.

So, you're in a gray area.  I don't think anyone will be upset to the
point of bothering you about your public repository.  I certainly won't.
But if I were you I'd just stick to the letter of the QPL, just to
have one less thing to worry about.

- Xavier Leroy