Wine, enthusiasts, businesses and the agony of the license

Fredrik Ohrn ohrn at
Sat Feb 9 16:16:04 CST 2002

On Sat, 9 Feb 2002, Patrik Stridvall wrote:

> I think you will be able convince both the lazy person above
> as well as the bean counter that this will be the best
> long time choice.
> > If Wine is LGPL they must release the patch if they want to reap the
> > benefits of using Wine, and they can release it without fear of giving
> > away money to someone else. It can even be argued that the
> > LGPL makes Wine
> > an even safer bet, since it guarantees that other companies
> > in this group
> > will chip in, this way Wine will be in even better shape when
> > the first
> > application was a smash hit and they decide to port their next app! :)
> Correct, but this is likely to be true anyway for reasons given above.
> This is what I imagine the LGPL proponents are dreaming about at night.
> Unfortunately it is a dangerous dream since it total ignores the
> drawbacks with a LGPL:ed Wine.

The drawback would be that it locks out the companies from group 1 (yes,
you have pointed out technical problems that might render the LGPL
worthless, but I'll leave the bugfixing for now, lets just assume it
actually works).

My question is, to you and everyone else, how valuable are this kind of
companies to the Wine community?

Yes, they may make progress fast, maby they are even required to take Wine
from the allmost but not quite stage to actually reach that elusive goal
of 99.9% Windows compatibility.

But at the same time this progress may never make it back to the community.
And as pointed out by Alexandre, in the worst case scenario they may halt
or slow down progress in the free version, because there is no incentive
to implement some missing peice when it already exists and can be bought
cheaply from company X.

The limited experience shows that things has worked out OK. It will be
interesting to see what Lindows ends up doing, I wish they would skip the
maketdroid speak for a while and join this discussion.

> > Companies that decide to develop a new app and use Wine as the cross-
> > platform framework also belongs to this group.
> Partly, but new applications can avoid using unimplemented functions so
> they are less likely to contribute anything back.

True. They can be more or less ignored for the purpose of this

> > have the least to gain from contributing anything back. The
> > companies in
> > group 2 have the least incentive to work on Wine, just fix the bare
> > minimum to get their application to work, but instead they can allow
> > themselves the luxury to contribute and score some goodwill.
> Since companies in group 2 are likely to contribiute back anyway
> for reasons given above I see no reason to hurt group 1 companies.

Yes, each and every one has to go back to his own motivation for working
on Wine, does it matter if the group 1 companies get a free lunch?


   "It is easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of computers by
   the sense of accomplishment you get from getting them to work at all."
                                                   - Douglas Adams

Fredrik Öhrn                               Chalmers University of Technology
ohrn at                                                  Sweden

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