Dr. Seuss, licensing, and WINE

David Elliott dfe at tgwbd.org
Sat Feb 9 02:50:09 CST 2002

On 2002.02.08 15:03 Brett Glass wrote:
> At 12:28 PM 2/8/2002, John Alvord wrote:
> >Seems to me that contributers should have most of the say....
> I'm not only a user but a potential contributor, as I
> frequently fix bugs in the open source code I use and
> maintain for others. I also recommend products to end
> users and install them on end users' systems. I will
> not be able to contribute to, fix bugs in, or recommend
> WINE if it is under an FSF license. The impact of a
> license change will reach far beyond the contributors.
Yeah, so?  Who owns the copyright on the code.. oh yeah THE CONTRIBUTORS.  
Most of the contributors have been with Wine for some time now and 
originally put their code under the original Wine license which was very 
restrictive and poorly written.  The decision to go to X11 was in fact 
made in part because it meant we had no restrictions whatsoever but could 
add them to new code at any point.  Specifically discussed way back when 
was moving to LGPL at a later point.

> I have been very thankful for WINE, because it has in some
> cases allowed me to escape the grip of the megalomaniacal
> Microsoft. But if WINE is (L)GPLed, all users, contributors,
> and software vendors who might like to promote it will be
> in the grip of the equally megalomaniacal FSF. A fork is
> the only thing that can prevent this, and again, I would
> strongly encourage one if it appears that the FSF is about
> to commandeer the project by persuading a subset of the
> contributors to impose its license upon everyone else.
Sounds to me like you've been thankful for Wine not because it is free 
software, but because you are getting a free lunch.  "the megalomaniacal 
Microsoft"???  Please.

And then this bullshit (call it like I see it) about the FSF commandeering 
the project?  The FSF has not been bugging us to change to LGPL.  The last 
time we were involved with the FSF (actually, specifically Stallman) we 
went with the X11 license which meant that we were compatible with the 
(L)GPL.  While Stallman stated his opinion at the time that he thought an 
FSF license would be a better choice because it would offer us more 
protection he also conceeded that X11 was a good choice given the 
circumstances.  And why wouldn't he?  Why in the hell does the FSF care if 
we are X11 or LGPL.  Either way all of their projects can use our code!

> Another thing that worries greatly is Jeremy's message
> stating that he has been consulting with Eben Moglen, of
> the FSF, about licensing. Asking the FSF's advice
> about licensing is akin to asking the IRS to prepare one's
> taxes: It will act in its own interest, not yours. The FSF's
> sole goal is to destroy commercial software developers, and
> so it will naturally do anything it can to accomplish this
> aim, even if the results are also devastating to the
> WINE project. It does not appear that CodeWeavers has
> consulted with anyone who does consulting and writes code
> under truly free license. I've already recommended, in a
> previous message, that they consult Perry Metzger of
> Wasabi Systems, who can demonstrate to them that a
> truly free license is greatly beneficial. (The fact that
> NetBSD is truly free is, in fact, one of Wasabi's strongest
> selling points for its software and services.)
Give me a break dude.  Yes, the FSF wants all software to be free and 
wants to rid the world of commercial software altogether.  Why is this 
such a new idea to you?  Did you think that this was some kind of secret 
agenda?  Quit with the conspiracy theories.  Everybody already knows what 
the FSFs purpose is.

As for your advice to Jeremy on how to run his business, I'm sure he'd 
love to say this to you but wouldn't: stick it where the sun doesn't 
shine.  While most people like you have all these wonderful business plans 
with no real thought whatsoever put into them, Jeremy is out there 
actually doing what you don't have the nuts to do.  How would you feel if 
I told you how to run YOUR business?

The argument that NetBSD is truly free is good.  You're right.. it's like 
getting a free lunch.

> It is also of great concern that CodeWeavers has stated
> that it will begin to add code to the source tree under
> LGPL. By thus "contaminating" the tree, it will force its
> decision upon the other developers. The company's code
> should not be committed if it does not contribute it
> under the MIT/WINE license.
Umm, no.  Alexandre maintains the official tree and has stated on many 
occasions that only X11 licensed code will be accepted.  This has not 
changed and will not change unless the majority of developers agree that a 
license change is a good thing.

Going back to your mail which started this thread you make some comments 
about how you cannot even look at (L)GPL code if you are a commercial 
developer.  This is even more bullshit.  Do you really think the wine 
developers were born yesterday?  That same comment (and in fact almost all 
of your comments) have been posted on slashdot for years now.  Why not try 
using your brain as a CPU instead of a hard-drive for a change?  Believe 
me, you can be reasonably sure that most of the wine developers have read 
the comments on slashdot and have already heard it, so why are you wasting 
our time repeating the same old shit?

As long as you're not copying the code directly out of the source file I 
don't see the issue.  Does the fact that I've seen an implementation of a 
linked list in a GPL program mean that I can no longer safely write a 
linked list in a commercial program without fear of being sued by the 
FSF?  Fuck no it doesn't.  Assuming Wine is LGPL does the fact that I've 
seen how it manages to keep track of HWNDs and the structures that go with 
them mean that I couldn't write a similar facility in my program?  
Absolutely not.

Besides.. who the hell would sue you if we wanted to?  The FSF doesn't own 
the copyrights, the developers do.  Only if the developer who's code you 
were infringing upon wanted to sue you could you be sued.  Now they could 
get help from the FSF.. but the FSF could not bring the suit.

Anyway, I decided to do a quick search just to find out who the hell you 
are posting to this list after finding out about the issue in a slashdot 
story.  Normally I would attribute that behavior to some l33t h4x0r troll 
dude on slashdot.  Apparently you've been in the commercial software 
industry for so long that the prospect of more and more code being and 
staying free to modify but not free to steal scares the shit out of you.

By the way, regarding your comment on writing the initial design for the 
website and setting up the webserver in one evening.  Well, it sure as 
hell looks like you spent about 0 time designing your website so I don't 
find that too hard to believe.

In any case I do want to apologize for being so harsh but only on the 
condition that any future mailings from you be actually well thought out 
ideas that are yours and not a recap of what happens on slashdot once a 

Score -1e99 Troll


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