- To: slug@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Re: [SLUG] Legal Interoperability & World Domination
- From: Anand Kumria <wildfire@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun Nov 12 05:17:36 2000
- Reply-to: slug@xxxxxxxxxxx
- User-agent: Mutt/1.2i
On Sun, Nov 12, 2000 at 03:21:53AM +1100, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> > Anand Kumria wrote:
> > So non-GPL won't disappear. Other bigger exampels are Bind, OpenLDAP,
> > OpenSSL, Apache and most MTAs (Mail Transer Agents) except Exim.
> Big infrastructural projects... I decided not to mention these because I'd
> imagine that the past lack of corporate acceptance of the GPL and LGPL would
> have made their use prohibitive.
Actually I have never encountered that. Most "corporates" seem to accept
fairly quickly that the GPL is good for them because it means their
competitors, if using the same software, must also realise (a simplification,
yes) their changes.
You can see this in how most companies (e.g IBM, Apple, Sun, Netscape) have
a ``your contributions become our property'' like clause.
> Thankfully, businesses are starting to wise up now, and realise that the GPL
> isn't quite as bad as they thought it would be (and it sounds as though
> version 3 will be even better defined).
Are you refferring to the Newsforge article citing `ASPs' as coming in
for special treatment? All that will do is spell exactly what "distribution"
means -- it has usually been defined as ``within a company''.
> > More concerning than GPL vs non-GPL is how is how a lot of major
> > pieces of infrastructure have their own licence.
> This is the catch, isn't it? I'm hardly worried by forks of software - we
> all know the arguments as to why forking is frowned upon until it's
> absolutely necessary - what worries me is disintegration *between* the
Regarding forking. I'm not sure everyone does. The most famously forked
piece of software, for example, is Emacs (and then XEmacs). What was
the justification? Technical? no. Political.
The other fork you may be referring to (samba) is again a political one.
Yes there is a technical issue involved (development methodology) but
this is, in essence, a pissing contest with one group saying "well, I
can out develop you" and the other saying "well, I can out design you".
> The more incompatible licences there are - especially those typically
> difficult one-time ones - the harder it is to determine whether linking
> important pieces of software is allowed.
Well, not really. There are many ways to get around linking issues with
shared libraries. You can certainly follow the letter of the licence
and betray the spirit of it if you so wish.
> This completely blows away the network effects of Free Software, and is
> probably the most dangerous form of disintegration - and it's from the
Network effects as a whole, yes. But each of ``communities'' has built
up a significant network effect (or else they would be surviving)
> > This is the principle reason I've avoided PHP. With so many reasonable
> > scripting languages popping up, why settle for a non-GPL one.
> Obviously a good time to mention Ruby - http://www.ruby-lang.org/ - which is
> GPL/Artistic, just like Perl. It's very sexy... and it's BIG IN JAPAN. ;)
> > Licence issues are mostly secondary. You do get some noticible exceptions
> > to this rule though (e.g. Alan Cox) whose, as I understand it, decision to
> > work on the Linux kernel was principaly because it was under the GPL.
> I was under the impression that Alan developed his trust and commitment to
> Free Software after the event... Linux was (as it has been for many of us)
> just in the right place, at the right time, on the right architecture, and
> with the right attitude. :)
Hmm. Maybe we should have a software licences panel or something at
Linux.Conf.Au when Alan, David, Rik and all the other hardcore hackers
are out. [ That's my obligiatory conference reference for the day :p ]
> > I believe that in future more developers will be conscious of the licence
> > software is under -- I think not GPL'ing your software will start to
> > exclude you from a large talent pool (and also a good body of code) which
> > will cause yor potential project to proceed less rapidly (if at all).
> Hopefully the sensible moves taken by Mozilla.org and Trolltech (who I
> didn't mention before - they've relicenced Qt under a QPL/GPL combo) will
> influence other developers, and keep all this code in the same pool...
Again, they could have achieved legitimacy and free'd their code by
adopting say the MIT X licence but neither has. Both are concerned
about potential competitors and are using the GPL as a countering
In Mozilla's case they has the extra pressure of GNOME people wanting
to integrate their work but not being able to. Similiar pressures
applied for Trolltech but mainly from works dependant upon Qt ( cf.
Debian not including things requiring libqt unless an exemption was
> Devil's Advocate: Is this why people complain about the "viral" aspects of
> the GPL, and are we seeing a new form of lock-in? [ My opinion is that, if
> it achieves good, the "lock-in" isn't bad... But I could be brainwashed. ]
Viral, as RMS would say, has the wrong connotations. No one wants to
catch a virus (unless of course your the FBI looking for some clueless
VB programmer from the Phillipines ...) most people would rather something
infecticious like a smile or laughter.