Wine license change

Patrik Stridvall ps at
Thu Feb 7 15:43:49 CST 2002

[Oh, no here we go again]

> Some recent events have occurred that have made me change my opinion
> about a Wine license change.

I see.
> During my involvement in the Wine project, I have always striven to
> make sure that I, and my company, did what was best for the Wine
> project.

Before I critize you to much. I would like to point out for the record
that I do believe that you and Codeweavers as far reasonable possible
have done what you claim and that you have my gratitude and respect for

However remember that: "The road the hell is paved with good intentions."

> I believe Wine's success will help to make the world a
> better place.  

Partly agreed. I believe that people moving from Windows to Unix is 
a good thing and that Wine (or Wine like projects) are among the nessary
tools to acceive this. It is not the only tools though.

> To that end, often through difficult personal
> negotiations, I have always insured that all of my contracts require
> that all code changes be returned to Wine.  This, in effect, treats
> Wine as an LGPL product.

You have my respect for that as explain above. However I'm not
entirely convince that this always is a good thing. It is a probably
a good strategy by average but do not believe it is always the
right thing.

In military terms: 
A strategic retreat is often good,
eventhough retreat as a strategy is not.
> You can argue that the flexibility granted by the Wine license has
> meant that I received some business I would not otherwise have had.
> Gav, for example, has pointed out that Corel would never have worked
> on Wine if not for its license.  There are two ironies there - first,
> Corel has always been a great Wine citizen, IMO, never 'abusing' the
> license.  Second, while we did work with Corel to help them with Wine,
> we never signed a contract with them.  Their lawyers and I were never
> able to agree on a contract that we thought would sufficiently protect
> Wine.  Fortunately for me, we were able to work with Corel without a
> contract, but this issue to this day creates unnecessary friction
> between my company and Corel.

Read that Gavriel have written again. Surely you must realize that
there is a difference between:
1. Specificing a goal in the beginning and be legally forced to stick to it
until the end no matter what.
2. Specificing a goal in the beginning and be legally able to retarget when
reallity didn't turn out as you expect. 

There is a difference between striving to do good and being forced to do
good because of an earlier promise despite the fact that reality has
> However, with some recent events I cannot disclose, it is clear to me
> that the opportunity for Wine to be used in a proprietary product is
> too tempting and has caused some harm to the Wine project. Based on
> experience, I feel strongly that the potential for harm is great
> enough that CodeWeavers needs to take two actions. First, we would
> like to release all new code we develop under an LGPL style license.
> Second, I would like to open another call for a license change and
> thereby strongly add my voice to Alexandre's.

Luckily for you your credibillity is pretty high. Normally I immediately
raise the red flag of warning then I heard claims made referring to
undisclosed information.

I understand that you are worried about the future but don't let your
fears drive you onto the wrong path.
> Thus, I would like to call for a change in the Wine license.  I think
> we all agreed that the LGPL formed the basis for a good 'alternate'
> license strategy.  Eben Moglen, the counsel for the FSF, has kindly
> offered to help review licensing strategies for Wine.  The goal is to
> attempt to secure some form of Copyleft protection for Wine while
> still permitting proprietary software to link and bind with Wine.  I
> think it it is great that we have, in Eben, not only the leading legal
> scholar on free software licensing, but a great hacker to boot.  I
> think he will clarify exactly what is possible and what is not
> possible with GPL style licenses and insure that the license we choose
> will meet our goals.

Talking to Eben can only help. However we need to very careful to specify
not only what we want to acceive but also and MUCH more importantly
what we want to _avoid_ the license from accidently preventing. 

So what do you want this new license to acceive?

And the much more important question what do you want to avoid the
license from accidently preventing?

> When Alexandre last brought up this issue, he was very disappointed.
> He felt that there was not enough support from the 'silent majority'
> of Wine developers for a license change.  His overriding lament to me
> was 'No one cares'.  

I care.

> He further felt that since a small number of
> major Wine contributors objected, that it was not appropriate to
> change the license.
> I would like to ask for a more formal process.  I would like each and
> every contributor to Wine to send Alexandre a private email with an
> 'Agree' or 'Disagree' opinion, so that he can more truly assess what
> the contributors to Wine really want.  The specific question I wish to
> pose is as follows:
>     Should the Wine project switch to a license which has as
>     its goal to attempt to secure some form of Copyleft
>     protection for Wine while still permitting proprietary
>     software to link and bind with Wine?
> Please privately let Alexandre (julliard at know what you
> think, and then publicly respond to this thread as you feel
> appropriate.

> Finally, in closing, I wanted to summarize our position.  We plan to
> release our future work under an xGPL style license, and we would like
> the rest of the Wine community to join us.  If the bulk of the
> community wants to stick with the current license, then we will
> probably end up making a separate CVS development tree.  Anyone would
> be free to use our work from that tree, under the xGPL-style license
> terms the FSF's lawyers recommend.

Is that a threat or what?

Hmm. I think I will intrepret is as symptom of your fears and advise
you to try and avoid acting in a hastely manner.

By all means start a dialog the FSF lawyers, but don't do anything
you might later regret.

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