Dr. Seuss, licensing, and WINE

Brett Glass brett at lariat.org
Thu Feb 14 16:16:15 CST 2002

At 12:10 PM 2/14/2002, Roland wrote:

>I agree with most of what you said, but have a few NEW questions:
>1. Companies that benefit from WINE in this way have no incentive to contribute back. 

It may not seem obvious at first, but in fact they have a strong incentive to
contribute back. Any patch that's not contributed back to the main source tree
must be re-integrated again and again -- and there's often no other way to do
this than by hand. It only pays to reserve code that's very strategic.

>So why should they? That means that this kind of companies are of no big help to WINE, so why should we help them with the licensing scheme?

It *is* mutually beneficial to maintain a truly free license. See above.

>2. Companies like CodeWeavers that have a different business model probably would share code back even with the xGPL. 

I have not been able to come up with any business model where it pays not to 
give back non-strategic code.

>They don't lose anything for doing it. And with the xGPL they don't have to fear

Why is this a "fear?" In exactly what way does it hurt CodeWeavers when someone
else is making money via products that are not in direct competition with what 
CodeWeavers sells?

>that a competitor will make money out of their work. 

As explained in an earlier message, a company that uses the code in a product
can only make money from its *own* work.

>In fact any producer of a Windows app is a potential contributer to WINE, since he will help to make its app run under Linux. 

Only if he sees Linux as a platform worth supporting! There is still significant
expense involved in doing a WINE port, and he has to be convinced that he'll make
money in the Linux world. (Which is by no means a sure thing. Borland is losing
its shirt on Kylix because most Linux users apparently won't pay for tools.) Use
of Linux to run Windows apps must become widespread before you'll see many ports.
And this won't happen if WINE isn't truly free (see below), because companies
such as Lindows won't be around to promote the idea.

>A xGPLed WINE would help ensure that the improvements made by those companies come back to the community. 

I disagree. Many will turn tail and run. Others will fork the last truly free
version. And the rest will try to make money but fail, because they cannot
differentiate their products due to the (L)GPL.

Have I answered your questions adequately?


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