and open source

Michael Robertson michael at
Mon Feb 11 14:06:39 CST 2002


>From: Claus Fischer ("claus.fischer at
>If the current license allows Lindows to make proprietary
>modifications and not give anything back, it certainly
>allows Codeweavers/whoever to make proprietary modifications
>and give back under LGPL.
>Those who don't want to even read LGPL code for reasons of
>'contamination' just shouldn't read it. You can't read Lindows
>code either.
>Why should Codeweavers be morally pressured to contribute under a
>steal-me license when steal-it companies don't contribute at all?

Just to set the record straight. has had a partner company producing the majority of our WINE 
code. The vast majority of the code that came from that partnership is in 
the public tree already. has contributed code to open source projects. We have hired 
open source companies (spending over 500K) to help us reach our goals with 
the majority of the code going back to open source. has given 
financial support to several open source initiatives (such as KDE). has made significant investments in linux companies.  All told, 
we've spent about 2 million in the 5 months that we've been a company.

Linux (and all the other pieces) does 95% of what people want to do today, 
but only has 1% market share. Our belief is that the code is largely not 
the limiting factor for adoption now. It's all the pieces that go around 
the code. It's education, it's marketing, it's lobbying, it's business 
development, etc. These are big tasks which are critical to success, even 
more so than the code itself (think AOL). I know this won't be a popular 
thing to stay on a mailing list with "devel" in the title, but it's where 
we believe linux is and what we believe needs to happen to get to the next 
level. This doesn't mean the code isn't important, it is but there are 
other critical elements.

We need and 10 more thriving companies to help with the expense 
of educating, lobbying, marketing, etc. desktop solutions. It's expensive 
to do those things and a burden that needs to be shared by several 
companies because the job is so enormous and the competitor so strong. The 
Linux community, especially the desktop community needs healthy ongoing 
companies to put in capital, organization, and other support. If we can put 
a few million more people running Linux on the desktop, then magical things 
will happen. Drivers for linux will be available, higher quality linux 
software will emerge, more OEMs will offer linux as an option, devices will 
have linux interfaces, governments will view linux differently, etc.

There are some small, but meaningful for-profit companies out there today 
in linux (such as codeweavers and transgaming). The more companies in the 
linux desktop space there are, the more companies that will be able to pay 
their rates on an ongoing basis and hire them to code great products. 
There's tremendous opportunity and the more companies out there the better.

As for our marketing message, it's designed for my Grandma. Anytime there's 
a word on the website she doesn't understand she calls me up. Try 
explaining a recursive acronym to your Grandma. Yikes. Our goal with is to bring Linux to the segment of the world who thinks linux 
is spelled with a 'y' and is a small bobcat.

-- MR
michael at

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