Saturday, May 24, 2008

Licensing Terms of LWUIT

Sylvain seems to have misunderstood the licensing terms of LWUIT which is understandable since these things are complex and we are not lawyers so let me reiterate this in no uncertain terms: LWUIT is 100% free for commercial use!

It is GPL+CPE (Classpath Exception) which allows you to make changes to the source without a problem. You will need to publish all changes you made to LWUIT, but since the CPE still applies you can still package your proprietary application with the binary and ship this without publishing the source code for your own application!

Disclaimer: I Am Not A Lawyer, however I know these issues reasonably well.

The main idea: change LWUIT as you want but give it back, feel free to make money off it using whatever business model you choose.

So why do we have another license on the page, the SLA?

Simplicity, it is often hard to talk in some corporations about open source. There is general GPL phobia in some cases and you might not be able to get past some of those lawyer types.
Sun wants to help you by offering another licensing option that might be easier to use in a corporate environment rather than dealing with OSS license complexities. Obviously this license can only be applied to the binary release to prevent potential harmful forking of the code.

How can Sun publish under the SLA and not only under the GPL+CPE?

Sun maintains full copyright to the code and as the copyright owner can license the binary & source as Sun pleases. This is a privilage of Sun as the owner of the rights to the code, you yourself can't just relicese and resell the code. However, you can sell derivative work as long as you comply with the appropriate license. e.g.:
When you haven't changed the code you can pick any license terms SLA or GPL+CPE.
When you changed the code you must comply with GPL+CPE and cannot use the SLA license.

Hopefully this makes sense, one thing I don't like about the GPL is that it makes programmers talk like lawyers... Hopefully we provided enough licensing leverage to render these issues mute.


  1. Hi Shai,

    and what about the LWUIT Resource Editor / Theme Creator? Is it allowed to use it for:

    -open source projects?
    -commercial projects?

    By using it I mean it is allowed to use themes made with it for open source and commercial projects.


  2. It has a very concise license in the opening screen that permits pretty much any use as far as I can tell.