Wine license change

Steve Langasek vorlon at
Thu Feb 7 18:16:56 CST 2002

On Thu, Feb 07, 2002 at 05:45:36PM -0500, Roger Fujii wrote:
> Steve Langasek <vorlon at> wrote:
> > Under the LGPL, everyone /will/ contribute back, because that's what the 
> > LGPL requires.

> If you are using marketing speak for "contribute".  GPL requires 1)
> for you to show your work  2) You effectively license your software to
> the FSF.  It doesn't say it has to be in any useful form to be worked
> back into the originating project (if any). 

We're talking about the LGPL, not the GPL.  The rest of this paragraph
shows a serious disconnect with the text of the LGPL.  Have you actually
read the license in question?

    "Source code" for a work means the preferred form of the work for
  making modifications to it.  For a library, complete source code means
  all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated
  interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control
  compilation and installation of the library.

>> Under the LGPL, it's not for them (or for you) to decide 
>> whether they have anything to contribute back; if they make modifications, 
>> they must be shared openly.  And you're right that some people don't want 
>> to contribute back.  That's precisely WHY we would consider relicensing 
>> under the LGPL.  If everyone shared of their own free will, why would we 
>> need a license that said they had to share?  The question at hand is 
>> whether or not we want to allow others to benefit from Wine without 
>> sharing their changes.

> Here we go again....  If this is *all* it did, LGPL is far less objectionable.
> The problem with *GPL is that it also regulates the UNMODIFIED use of the
> software.  

The creation of derived works does not constitute "unmodified use of the
software" under any legal definition I've ever seen, if that's what you're
referring to.

>> I make no bones about the fact that I'm a staunch believer in copyleft.
>> If Free Software has value, then there's also value in keeping it Free. 

> Freedom means allowing people to do things, even things that you don't
> agree with.  BSD = Free.  GPL is not.  Call a spade a spade....

Nonsense.  To extend your definition to the proper conclusion, it's not
Free unless it's placed in the public domain, and any software license
that permits you to maintain any portion of your copyright is a fraud if
it claims to be Free.  If you really cared about giving absolute freedom
to the users of code that you write, you would place all of your code in
the public domain.

Not planning to do that any time soon?  Then spare us the bullshit
arguments about the BSD being Free and the GPL not. (Yes, it is bullshit.
Call a spade a spade, right?)  All Free Software licenses attempt to find
an equitable balance between the freedoms and rights of the authors, and
the freedoms and rights of the users.  You are free to favor one balance
point over the others, but that doesn't make other licenses and other
balance points non-free.

But neither philosophy nor politics is the issue at hand.  The issue at
hand is whether the LGPL, or a similar license, would be better or worse
for growing the Wine community.  For that, there are good arguments on
both sides.  It's true that the current business model of TransGaming is
not compatible with the LGPL, and that's a point that weighs heavily on
me, because they truly are being good Wine citizens in their fashion; as a
result, I'm very interested in hearing the results of Gavriel's ponderings
on the license subject.

On the other side, companies like don't impress me as bringing
any added value back to the community -- they may succeed in increasing
the percentage of non-Windows desktops in the world, but the current Wine
license makes it possible for all the profits from their OS to pad the
wallets of marketroids, sales critters and smooth-talking business execs,
without contributing anything back to the Wine tree.  I have no problem at
all with the idea of eliminating that particular business model.

>> I'm sure that under a BSD-style license, Wine could continue to outcompete 
>> any commercial offshoots.  The question is, which license model gives us 
>> the best chance of competing with *Microsoft*, who already has the lead?

> If this is the goal (it certainly is mine), then *GPL is not a good choice,
> because it would interfere with deployment (*GPL wouldn't allow being bundled
> with the playstation2 or other HW platforms as an example).  If acceptance
> is the goal and you care about wine in a non-linux context, stay with
> BSD/X11.  If you don't care about expanding the pie, go *GPL....

Please write what you mean, which seems to be "Sony would never accept the
terms of the LGPL, which would prevent them from being able to bundle Wine
with the PlayStation2".  Again, I don't see where this would be a loss.
Companies that are unwilling to contribute back to the community are not
any concern of mine; if they want to compete with Microsoft on the
desktop, let them fund their own software development instead of leeching
off of the community.  My only concern with the LGPL is making sure that
well-intentioned companies that DO give back to the community aren't
caught in the middle.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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