Wine, enthusiasts, businesses and the agony of the license

Fredrik Ohrn ohrn at
Sat Feb 9 14:25:33 CST 2002

On Sat, 9 Feb 2002, vinn wrote:

> First, the LGPL doesn't really ever give a time frame for modifications
> to be released back.  We can safely assume that it means "in a timely
> manner", since in practice this is how it works.  I think we could
> collectively agree that a company such as Transgaming could be allowed
> a grace period in order to submit their modifications back.  Whether
> this is a week or a year can be debated.  If for no other reason than
> to ensure clean code.  Now you may argue that a year is too long, but
> keep in mind that the modifications do have to be released, and if it
> takes them a year the amount of work required for a resync may impact
> other operations.

Nope, as soon as you distribute someting built upon the LGPL library to
a 3rd party you MUST include the source for the library (including any
patches you made).

One could write such a graceperiod clause into the license, as suggested
in other posts, but I don't think it would work in practise.

The license would still have to require that the modified source be
included with the distribution as a form of "escrow". Otherwise it would
be impossble to guarantee that it really gets "freed" when the graceperiod

This gives us two obstacles for companies that build their business on
selling improved derivates of Wine:

They might not want to release the sourcecode of their work. Maby because
of silly company policies or because they would now be the ones carrying
the risk of getting ripped off by dishonest people.

They will only be able to guarantee revenue during the timelimit. If the
limit is to short they won't risk it. If the limit is to long the patches
will be worthless to the community when they finally get released.

For example TransGaming states that they will release their work when they
have recouped their costs. Would they risk it and accept a timelimit?


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Fredrik Öhrn                               Chalmers University of Technology
ohrn at                                                  Sweden

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