I'd contact the legal team at lice...@eclipse.org

From: <incubation-boun...@eclipse.org> on behalf of Jeen Broekstra 
Reply-To: Discussions for new Eclipse projects <incubation@eclipse.org>
Date: Friday 16 September 2016 at 00:06
To: "incubation@eclipse.org" <incubation@eclipse.org>
Subject: [incubation] reusing (modified) GPL code: at which length does this 
become a problem?

I have a contributor on our project (RDF4J) who has submitted a patch which 
includes a modified copy of a method taken from the OpenJDK source code. It 
mentions this fact in the code comments.

The method in question is quite basic (it's a conversion from codepoint 
integers to chars, all in all about 15 lines of code). The modification of the 
original is an optimization for our specific purposes (avoiding creation of a 
lot of internal string arrays).

The OpenJDK source code is licensed under GPL, and as I understand its terms, 
inclusion of a (modified) copy of GPL code would require us to distribute the 
entire project under GPL (which is clearly not what we want).

So the question is: at which point does such a "modified copy" of GPL code 
become significant enough that it no longer counts as simple 'citation'? Are 
there allowances in the number of lines and/or the fundamental simplicity of 
the algorithm that would enable us to accept this patch?

The contribution in question (including discussion) can be seen here:



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