[antlr-interest] Re: ANTLR Rights and Open Source issues

Terence Parr parrt at jguru.com
Wed Jan 23 09:48:30 PST 2002

On Wednesday, January 23, 2002, at 05:01  AM, Robert Colquhoun wrote:
> At 08:27 PM 1/22/02 -0500, bob mcwhirter wrote:
>>> Can you change the current license?
>> Sure, Ter ostensibly has the copyright to it, and do what he pleases.
>> If you argue it's public-domain, then Ter can *assume* copyright (as
>> can I, or anyone else, for that matter) and do as they please.
> Ack!!  I just read the RIGHTS file again and realised because the code 
> is
> placed in the public domain there is no disclaimer of warranty or 
> liability
> limitation type clause.
> ...so if someone uses antlr to build a compiler for their heart-lung
> machine and a antlr bug causes it to fail they are entitled to sue all 
> the
> antlr authors!!!   :-(

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm guessing we're not exposed ;)

>>> If you do a full rewrite and are the 100% author then obviously you 
>>> can do
>>> what you want.....but antlr has accepted contributions from many 
>>> different
>>> people, surely you will need to get everyones agreement to change the
>> license.
>> My take is that by contributing code back to the mainline, you
>> acquiese to the license of the mainline, which to this point has
>> been public-domain.
> The RIGHTS doc is a little weird in that the first paragraph states the
> code is in the public domain and then the 2nd paragraph goes and puts 
> all
> these conditions on it ie a credit clause and header modification

Well, "we ask" not "you must" was the way I put it.  I didn't want 
anything in there that forced people to do anything at all.  Note that I 
pretty much just threw this RIGHTS file together w/o much thought to 
protecting myself--just wanted everyone to be able to use the tool.

> clause.  You could still have a nasty argument that the author only
> intended their code to be distributed under this modified public 
> domain, a
> sortof license, and not some arbitrary license you later chose.
> On the other this is kind of unlikely, but anyway...

Hmm...perhaps it's time for a formal license.  I will contact some of 
the people I know that gained from the public-domain status.

Chief Scientist & Co-founder, http://www.jguru.com
Creator, ANTLR Parser Generator: http://www.antlr.org


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