License change: patenting for one year?

Roland roland at
Fri Feb 8 08:48:45 CST 2002

someone here already had the idea of making a patenting scheme.
Maybe this would be a good idea. A company can take the code, improve it 
and doesn't have to give modifications back until one year has passed. That 
would give them a competitive edge. Users would pay that company to be able 
to use always the newest versions. After one year, the code has to be 
contributed and is placed under the xGPL.

The disadvantage of this would be that it would slow down the WINE progress 
or lead to code duplication. Free developers who don't want to wait a year 
would start duplicating the code that the company already has but doesn't 
want to give back yet...

Maybe it would really be a good idea to open a web-site with a forum for 
this discussion, or how about another mailing list?

I think the problem with this discussion is that we seem to have at least 2 
distinctive groups:

1. People who want to make money selling WINE or derivatives == Anti xGPL
2. People who have no financial interest(individual developers) or 
companies who have another business model than the above == Pro xGPL

Of course there are also people from group 2 that are against the xGPL for 
one reason or another.

Ok, how do we solve this conflict? Maybe there is no solution other than 
splitting up WINE?
That means we would have two code bases corresponding to the two 
conflicting interest groups. I think that the xGPL group will win on the 
long run because group one would consist of many people who have only a 
limited interest in sharing back! That means that the codebase wouldn't 
evolve much over the long run, and we would have more companies like 
Lindows who simply build their own version of WINE and improve it, without 
giving back. Of course there probably will be a group of people involved 
like on FreeBSD but I wonder if the xGPL group wouldn't have more members....

The problem with the actual license is that it has created exactly this 
kind of situation: Companies don't share back at all or only if certain 
requirements(incoming profit) have been fulfilled. This effectively created 
a situation that is similar to the proposed patenting scheme. So basically 
I see two options

A. We make that patenting scheme official, which basically would correspond 
to the way things are NOW.
B. We split WINE in two projects.

B is my current prediction of what will happen. In fact CodeWeavers has 
already announced that this will happen(they will base their code on xGPL 
no matter what), so it is very obvious.

The only alternative is if someone finds an ingenious solution but I doubt 
it is possible since the involved interests are so antagonistic. We simply 
cannot sit in the same boat if one group wants to go north, the other south.


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