Dr. Seuss, licensing, and WINE

Patrik Stridvall ps at leissner.se
Sun Feb 10 04:15:56 CST 2002

> On 2002.02.09 19:18 Patrik Stridvall wrote:
> > David Elliott wrote:
> > > On 2002.02.09 06:39 Patrik Stridvall wrote:
> [SNIP]
> > > In some ways it is.  Many times when entities are violating
> > > some license
> > > or law a decision is partly based on what exactly their
> > > intentions were.
> > > Although I would not like to rely on this and I think
> > > clarifying what and
> > > what is not allowed is better than leaving it up to good 
> intentions.
> > 
> > Yes, but in the case of copyright it doesn't really make much sense.
> > For determining the punishment for any infringment, yes.
> > For determining whether something infringes, no.
> > 
> > And sure I guess hiding behind fair use is harder if you 
> intent is bad.
> > 
> Sorry, should have clarified that more.  It is true that 
> intent is used in 
> the punishment phase, usually not the actual trial.

OK. Then you agree with me.

However the fact remains that Alexandre doesn't agree. 

While he of course might be wrong, and probably is,
it bothers me still. Because if he can be wrong, so can lawyers,
especially careful lawyers, giving advise to their clients.
> > However does the Joe Hacker in my earlier example that used 
> a propriety
> > library to avoid dual booting and shared it with fellow hobbyists
> > have "intent to infringe"?
> > 
> This is pointless to discuss.  I don't want a license where 
> no one can 
> possibly link wine with binary components.  The LGPL does not 
> prohibit 
> that.

Yes, but Alexandre (and possibly Jeremy) seems to want a license
that does that. 

I have giving these examples to illustrate the implications if
the LGPL indeed work this way.
> > > > > Thus TransGaming does not hurt.  Lindows really doesn't hurt
> > > > > either, and
> > > > > the users of Lindows win because should they need to
> > > update the LGPL
> > > > > components of Wine they can do so and still continue to link
> > > > > to Lindows
> > > > > binary only components.
> > > >
> > > > Exactly, but they will be able to do that without the LGPL.
> > > > It is in the respective companies intrest to make it so.
> > > >
> > > If that is so, then why aren't they doing it already?
> > 
> > 1. Lack of time.
> > 2. Lack of insight what their users might want.
> > 3. Lack of concerned users.
> > 
> > I'm sure you can find more reasons.
> > 
> Because the current license allows them to get away with it.

Yes, but they might fix it then they find time. There is little
reason to force it now.
> > > Yeah, doesn't that suck.  Kind of like people use proprietary
> > > software so
> > > they get what they deserve.  We can't stop them from 
> using it as that
> > > limits the freedom's of the proprietary software companies
> > > and the users
> > > who want to use that software.  However what we can do is
> > > remove the need
> > > to use proprietary software.  Wine is a first step towards this.
> > 
> > Yes, but I never think the need for proprietary software 
> will disappear.
> > 
> Obviously not in the grand scheme of things.  But basic day 
> to day tasks 
> like just being able to use your computer should not require 
> proprietary 
> software.  I would extend basic tasks to basic word processing and 
> web-browsing functionality.  Your typical Linux distribution 
> is already at 
> that point.  The only thing missing is the ability to 
> continue to run the 
> Windows based programs that offer extended functionality.  
> Wine fills that 
> need and will help to transition users to a more reasonable and open 
> platform.

Quite true, I agree.
> Wine is such an important product and yet most of the 
> developers don't 
> really care about its future.  Moving users from Windows to some 
> proprietary Windows clone isn't really helping.

It doesn't? So making users aquinted with Linux in a gentle way
will not help? If Lindows will not let their users hack and 
improve on their version of Wine, I suspect that at least some
users will abandon Lindows for some other Linux distribution
there they can hack Wine.

In fact unless Lindows grow closer to classical Linux distribution,
ie not running everything as root for example. I expect many users to
abandon Lindows eventually anyway.

> > Do you consider it morally or ethically defendable to
> > prevent this behavior?
> > 
> Yes, I think it is morally defendable to prevent people from 
> incorporating 
> Wine into proprietary products.  And for most free software 
> projects I 
> think it is morally defendable to prevent people from even 
> linking to them 
> or using them in any proprietary software.

Even if the tools you had to use say LGPL was so crude that
it would additionally prevent people to help themselves and
their friend avoid dual boot for example?
> For Wine I think by nature we must let people link to 
> proprietary software.

> > > This is simply not true.  This is very much Wine's problem.
> > > If I need
> > > some of Lindows's functionality to run my program but would
> > > still like to
> > > be able to hack on other parts of Wine then I, as a developer
> > > and user, am
> > > screwed.
> > 
> > So complain with Lindows support or abandon Lindows and use 
> something
> > else or whatever. Eventually they will learn to listen to their
> > customers.
> > 
> This laissez-faire attitude really bothers me.  You say you 
> care, but in 
> reality you don't.

No, it is rather a stupidity has its own reward attitude.

I just see little reason help stupid people at the expense of other things.

I do care, if I could help stupid people with little effort, I would,
but I won't make any sacrifices for them.
> > > We cannot
> > > put our work on the line and say "Well, hopefully no one will
> > > make bad
> > > choices with it".
> > 
> > You can never prevent people from doing bad choice with a product:
> > "Design a product even an idiot can use and only an idiot 
> will use it"
> > 
> This is not the same thing.  

Not exactly, no. But the proverb illustrates the same principle.

> What I would like to accomplish 
> is to prevent 
> people from incorporating Wine into proprietary products.  I 
> don't want to 
> depend on the users of these proprietary products.  

So don't use them and save yourself the money.

The proverb is meant to illustrate that you are
the idiot if you buy or use idioticaly designed products.

> Besides 
> dude.. what 
> company listens to their customers anymore anyway.

Any company that wishes to survive does.
> > > > See my suggestion about the "MGPL" instead.
> > > >
> > > This is really the same thing as a clarified LGPL.  It's not
> > > necessary to
> > > write from the ground up a new license, but if we need to
> > > take the LGPL
> > > and strike out certain sections and/or add to it then that is
> > > far better
> > > than writing a new license completely from scratch.
> > 
> > No, it is not, because we want the license to be very clear
> > on what is allowed and what is not. No patchwork. A clear
> > license with only the absolute minimum number of paragraphs.
> > 
> > Remember we want companies working on Wine without having
> > to spend to much money on their lawyers.
> > 
> ARGH!!!!!  Licensing software is complex.  If the only 
> argument you have 
> against the LGPL is that it is complex, then tough cookies.  The only 
> licenses that are extremely simple are the ones that either say "Do 
> whatever with it" or the ones that say "We'll take your 
> firstborn if you 
> reverse engineer it".
> This argument that the LGPL is too complex is a waste of 
> time.  It reminds 
> me of microsofts shared source license.  One of its strong 
> points was that 
> it was simple.  Know why it was simple?  Because you couldn't 
> do shit with 
> the source so it was simple.  At the other extreme we have 
> the X11 which 
> is simple, because you can do almost everything with it.

True, but I primarily wish to strive for simplicity not nessarily
reach it.
> The very nature of moving to a license like the LGPL means it will be 
> complex.  This doesn't mean it has to be incomprehensible 
> (and it isn't)  
> it just means it'll be complex.

Well. I just want again to point out that everybody doesn't 
even agree what the LGPL means. This is what primarily bothers me.
> > Basicly but I very much fear that even a MGPL would be to complex.
> > 
> So then I nailed it.  You're only real concern seems to be 
> that companies 
> may shy away from Wine if the license is so complex.  I 
> wouldn't be that 
> concerned about it.  Had Wine been LGPL, Lindows probably still would 
> exist and would be playing more nicely with us.

Perhaps, but Transgaming probably wouldn't. Don't celebrate too soon.
> > > They can pay lawyers to figure it out for them. Why do you
> > > think lawyers
> > > make all the money anyway.
> > 
> > Because the money that they can avoid spending on lawyers could
> > be spent on improving Wine instead.
> > 
> If you take the average software company, more likely it'll 
> be spent on a 
> private jet for the CEO.

I'm sure Gavriel would be delighted to have a private jet. :-)
> Anyway... this mail is getting really long, and if the 
> biggest argument 
> you can come up with against the LGPL is that it's too 
> complex then it is 
> pointless to continue.

I think the discussion between us is pretty ended as far as
goals are concerned. Our prefered means and willingless
to give up some of the goals for reduced complexity
still differs.

Anyway, what rely matter is what other people like Alexandre
think about a license that allows wrapper library.

Of course we both claim that even the LGPL does, but then
other people don't. So I'm intrested in their opinion.

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