Wine license change

Steve Langasek vorlon at
Wed Feb 6 23:06:00 CST 2002

On Wed, Feb 06, 2002 at 08:17:39PM -0800, Daniel Walker wrote:

> > I don't think anything in Jeremy's message suggested that conversation was
> > a requirement.  He's looking for feedback to get an idea of how members of
> > the Wine community feel.  But if you're open to being persuaded that the
> > LGPL would be a Good Thing for the Wine community, I can try to oblige
> > you.

> 	Go for it ..

The choice of the current license, IIRC (and someone correct me if I'm 
wrong -- it's been a long time) was guided by concerns that companies be 
able to build commercial products around it without fear of other 
companies taking their source code, doing nothing to improve Wine, and 
putting the first companies out of business by out-marketing them.  In 
addition, there was the concern that companies be able to port their 
existing Windows apps to Unix via Wine without being subject to a license 
that forces them to release their proprietary code.

An LGPL licensing scheme is not in conflict with the second of these 
goals; and Wine looks a lot different now than it did when the current 
license was adopted, which may contribute to that.  As to the first goal 
of fostering an environment in which companies can build on top of Wine 
... it seems that one of the most successful companies incorporating Wine 
in their products, and the one that (at least from what I've seen) gives 
the most back to the Wine community, is not put off at all by the idea of 
having to release their source code; and from what I read of Jeremy's 
comments, he would much rather prefer that /everyone/ do likewise.  For 
companies that are committed to Open Source, a copyleft license like the 
LGPL *enhances* the competitive advantage of those contributing back when 
compared with BSD-like licenses that don't guarantee continued Openness.

I imagine that, as a hard-working entrepreneur trying to stick to his 
principles, it's difficult for Jeremy to watch other companies come in and 
use his code without contributing anything back.  I concede the 
possibility that switching to an LGPL license might turn some companies 
away from using Wine, and I would welcome evidence of that, as it would 
help us quantify the effect of such a license change; but in the absence 
of such evidence, I think we should consider the fact that the benefits to 
the Wine *community* from having Codeweavers around is substantial, 
regardless of whether the LGPL would encourage proprietary development 
*surrounding* that community.

> > One thing to bear in mind is that others already ARE forking the Wine
> > code.  Given the nature of their work, Codeweavers must maintain a
> > separate CVS tree locally; although we're fortunate in that their fork is
> > open to backporting to the official tree.  Other companies are forking
> > with no intention to contribute back (see; still others
> > (Transgaming) have made reintegration of their work contingent on turning
> > an profit.[1]  Jeremy is at least being courteous enough to let us know
> > where /his/ company is going with the Wine code, and is inviting the rest
> > of the Wine community to come along with him.

> 	I realize that there are many forks. That wasn't what I was getting at
> .. I didn't get the feeling of him "inviting" anyone to do anything ..

I think it is very much an invitation.  It's clear to me from Jeremy's 
message that he believes the LGPL is the right business decision for 
Codeweavers, even if that means a fork.  But forking is bad, after all, 
and he'd rather have a consensus in favor of LGPL if he can help it.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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