Wine license change

Dan Kegel dank at
Mon Feb 11 10:50:51 CST 2002

Francois Gouget wrote:
> > Didn't the fragmentation of Unix come from several companies using a BSD or
> > proprietary licensed codebase?
> > That fragmentation hasn't been a problem with Linux since it was GPL from day
> > one. So Linus and the community are still the ones with control and ownership
> > of Linux, not any single company.
> >
> > If several different *competing* companies take off with the existing Wine
> > code it will without doubt fragment. In fact it seems like it already has. If
> > there are several different proprietary Wines floating around without
> > improvements and code available then the Wine group's leverage of being the
> > "official source" would diminish in a way that Linux, GNU, KDE, etc have
> > manged to maintain with the *GPL license.
>    This is a very important point. So much so that it is worth
> expanding, even if it means repeating it somewhat.
>    With the current license, if a company returns code to Wine it has no
> garantee that its competitors will do the same. Quite the opposite, it
> has all reasons to expect its competitors to take all that code, and put
> it in their products while not releasing any code of their own.
> ...
>    Switching Wine to the LGPL will not cause the fragmentation to
> disappear right away. But it puts in place a framework where each
> company can return its changes to the core Wine while being assured that
> the other companies will do the same. It garantees that they will
> benefit as much from the work of others as others benefit from their
> work. This makes it reasonable for them to share their modifications.
>    As Jason pointed out this effect of the *GPL licenses can be viewed
> very clearly in the Unix kernels.
>    The original Unix was under a license similar to the current Wine
> license (with some proprietary components). Each Unix vendor took the
> code and modified it, which is fine. But this resulted into multiple
> versions of Unix, each tied to a specific architecture, each locking
> users into a specific version of Unix.
>    Had they cooperated, today's computing world would certainly be very
> different. But there was no incentive for them to cooperate, no
> framework that would foster trust.
>    Contrast this with the Linux kernel. The GPL which provides the
> framework of trust. As a result we see many companies working together
> on the kernel, both small like Connectiva and RedHat, and big long time
> competitors like IBM and SGI. The GPL did not prevent them from working
> on the kernel, and it provides them with a kernel which evolves at a
> higher rate than each of them could achieve separately and lets them
> offer better products to their clients. ...
>    This means it is important that all the Wine players work together
> rather going each their own way, each trying to complete Wine on their
> own. None of us have resources to match those of Microsoft, so
> separately we don't stand a chance.
>    The LGPL can do for Wine what the GPL did for the Linux kernel:
> provide the framework of trust that allows all players, including
> companies, to work together towards a common goal.

Hear, hear!

Francois describes the central issue well: the LGPL will 
provide a way for the vendors to trust each other.

Let those of us who understand this simply start releasing
our Wine changes under the LGPL, regardless of what anyone
else does.  That should make it clear which way the main
tree should go.
- Dan

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