[Fedora-legal-list] Mixing BSD and Apache licenses for specific arch in jemalloc on EPEL5/ppc

Ingvar Hagelund ingvar at redpill-linpro.com
Fri May 18 09:14:17 UTC 2012

Hello, legal. I'd like some advice, please. 

I maintain the jemalloc package for Fedora and EPEL. To make it compile
on EPEL5/POWER, I need a patch for 32bit atomic operations on ppc. I
found one in the Boost library (Boost license), but some googling
discovers it actually originates from apr (Apache license). jemalloc is
distributed under the BSD license

I'm unsure on how compatible the BSD and Apache licenses are.

Could I just add the patch and a few extra lines to COPYING with %ifarch
ppc ppc64, %if 0{?rhel} == 5, mentioning the Apache license and the
patch for that platform?

Note that the patch is no longer needed in epel6 and fedora. I guess
modern versions of gcc provides the missing atomic stuff.

I have contacted jemalloc upstream. Their comments suggest that this is
a non-issue, that is, that the code in question is too specific to be
copyrighted with a license, since the number of ways to implement atomic
operations for a specified cpu are very limited, and all the sketched
implementation examples floating around use more or less the same

Patch and short discussion starts here:

I also contacted apr upstream. The initial commit of the code was done
by Greg Ames, http://marc.info/?t=101356337500001&r=1&w=2 . He pointed
me to the latest version, and told me to use it while adding the Apache
License, and added "I think you'll find that the Apache license is very
compatible with the BSD license."

PS: Note that Greg's initial commit preceeds the one copy-pasted into
the Boost library, so if this actually is an issue, Boost (or the Boost
maintainer in Fedora?) should check out this as well.


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