[jcifs] Android and jcfis-license

Michael B Allen ioplex at gmail.com
Mon Feb 14 16:44:20 MST 2011

Hi Florian,

Regarding JCIFS and it's license which is the LGPL version 2.1:


the section of real importance in this mobile "app" scenario is
probably section 4:

  "  If distribution of object code is made by offering access to copy
  from a designated place, then offering equivalent access to copy the
  source code from the same place satisfies the requirement to
  distribute the source code, even though third parties are not
  compelled to copy the source along with the object code."

So you don't have to distribute the actual JCIFS source code with your
app. You can just provide a link to it. However technically the link
is supposed to be "from the same place" the end user got the app which
could be a nuisance if the app is published into something like the
Apple store or Google apps site or whatever.

Unfortunately the LGPL contains a lot of banter and is difficult to
parse logically. To a great extent the LGPL is what people say it is
which has caused problems with other projects.

Personally I would just ship the app, bury the LGPL 2.1 text in your
app licensing fine print somewhere prefixed with:

  "This app uses the JCIFS library distributed in accordance with
  the LGPL version 2.1 displayed below. The JCIFS source code
  package for version x.y.z of JCIFS used with this application is
  accessible from http://jcifs.samba.org/".

If the Free Software Foundation people give you a problem with this,
contact me and I'll add a new license for JCIFS that permits
distribution of the unmodified object code requiring only a link to
http://jcifs.samba.org/ and not "from the same place".

Or if you feel like you really must comply exactly with every letter
of the LGPL, you might be able to create another "app" that just
contains the JCIFS source code and publish the apps together. In fact
the Android people may have thought of this already and they might
have a place for people to put LGPL libs. Ask them.

This is not legal advice and I do not accept any responsibility for
anything you do.


On Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM, Christopher R. Hertel
<crh at ubiqx.mn.org> wrote:
> Mike should provide the final answer, but I believe that if you include a
> link to the jCIFS source you're covered.  Other Android Apps do use jCIFS.
> Chris -)-----
> Florian wrote:
>> Hi there,
>> i have some troubles concerning the LGPL License under which JCFIS is
>> distributed. The problem I see is that the library cannot be distributed as
>> library like in normal Java applications as the java class files are converted
>> into the android-specific dex-format in a single .dex-file automatically.
>> Now my question:
>> Can JCFIS be used with paid (and closed-source) android apps? And, if yes, how?
>> I'm developing a paid app which would be only half-useful without
>> NTLM-authentication, so I would be very happy about an answer on this licensing
>> question.
>> Kind regards,
>> Florian
> --
> "Implementing CIFS - the Common Internet FileSystem" ISBN: 013047116X
> Samba Team -- http://www.samba.org/     -)-----   Christopher R. Hertel
> jCIFS Team -- http://jcifs.samba.org/   -)-----   ubiqx development, uninq.
> ubiqx Team -- http://www.ubiqx.org/     -)-----   crh at ubiqx.mn.org
> OnLineBook -- http://ubiqx.org/cifs/    -)-----   crh at ubiqx.org

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