Wine license change

John Alvord jalvo at
Wed Feb 13 21:22:19 CST 2002

On Thu, 14 Feb 2002 02:03:26 +0100, Claus Fischer
<claus.fischer at> wrote:

>Issue 1: On corporations' dealing with GPL
>Basically all big companies in the software industry know
>about the GPL. It's a known quantity. Even if it may not
>have been publicly enforced, companies have spent lawyers'
>time finding out the core implications. They know its
>`spirit', and they mostly equate it with its spirit,
>i.e. they deal with GPL code according to its spirit.
>This is true whether they are pro or contra GPL in a
>particular situation; hardly have big companies ever
>tried to sneak around it. (Or was there some good
>GPL'ing code may not fit everybody's needs but it can make
>a lot of sense for corporations whose core business is
>not Wine. Imagine some big hardware vendor (Intel), software
>vendor (IBM), bank, fortune 500 company, considering the use
>of Wine for some internal or external product. They don't want
>to get into the Wine business at all.
>It's much easier for them to hire external consultants,
>Codeweavers, whoever, to implement some stuff for them
>and give back to the public if they don't run the risk of
>  a) the competition taking the code
>  b) the competition improving it
>  c) the competition getting better products
>  d) the competition not giving anything back
>Even if the causal connection between the little money
>you spent and the success of your competition is very weak,
>you don't want to read that kind of implication in a newspaper.
>Rather spend 10 times the money and do it closed-up in-house.
>Whereas using the GPL, by this time a very well known
>quantity in most of the above mentioned companies, you
>can rule out this kind of embarrassment and explain fair
>and square to your shareholders that a Windows compatibility
>layer is not a means of competition to you, and that you are
>just playing by the general rules of the community, and those
>ensure that your competition will not take advantage of you.
>For an enabling technology like Wine that will perhaps never
>become the one big bread and butter product of a fortune 500
>company (sorry Lindows guys), this carries a lot of potential
>for consultants, both individual and incorporated, whose goal
>is to offer a Windows compatibility layer and to improve Wine.
>  (1)  `We need something like Wine'
>  (2)  `We need some enhancements'
>  (3)  `We have to give back the source code anyway'
>  (4)  `So we can as well outsource that and consult with experts'
>In contrast an X11 style license would modify this:
>  (1)  `We need something like Wine'
>  (2)  `We need some enhancements'
>  (3)  `We do not want our competition to know'
>  (4a) `Let's do it in-house', or
>  (4b) `Let's make a contract with our external consultants
>        that disallows them to reuse the code'
>Issue 2: On developers discussing licenses
>You shouldn't. You can't convince others, and you shouldn't
>try to. You have the power. Just pick one that fits your
>goals for yourself and for the project, and move on.

And if there is a fork... so be it. The developers will vote with
their feet, moving to one side or the other or off the stage.
Personally I would guess that the majority of the current developers
would move with AJ. But who knows... and it isn't the end if the

john alvord

More information about the wine-devel mailing list