BSD, Gav, LGPL, Jeremy, and business

Dimitrie O. Paun dimi at
Fri Feb 15 11:41:57 CST 2002


I am sorry I have to fuel the flames, but I have to say what I have to say.

First, and formost, we have now heard the oppinion of two big (from Wine
POV) commercial players: Gav and Jeremy. Now, it was painfully obvious to
me that Jeremy had the power of reason on his side, while Gav only a
strong emotional impulse. And there's reason for that -- the LGPL make a
lot more sense for Wine.

We've heard countless arguments why that's not that case. A lot of them
where simply nonsense. The few that made some sense, were ALL based on a
false premise: that Wine is a monolithic product.

Now, this is a _fundamental_ point that is ignored over and over
again: Wine is a _collection_ of products, just like a Linux
distribution. Which means that the viral aspect of the LGPL _stops_ at
every DLL boundary. It is easy to see now that this does not preclude most
commercial implementations. In fact, it encourages them givin them a level
playing field. Just like Linux does.

People, for crying out loud, _think_ about it, and the conclusion will
jump right out at you. THIS IS WHAT WE WANT:
  -- if a company invests a _little_ to improve a DLL, we should have no
moral problem requireing them to contribute that back. Since it's just a
little contribution, no business will be destroyed because of it.
  -- if a company makes a huge improvement (like Transgaming), they can
simply drop the original Wine code, and keep everything propriatary. Now,
compared to the _huge_ improvement, the cost of reimplementing the mostly
non-working Wine code should be trivial.

Bottom line is:
  -- are we raising the bar for comercial companies with a LGPL
licence? YES!
  -- how _much_ are we raising it? BY A TRIVIALLY SMALL AMOUNT!
  -- do we invalidate TG business model? NO!

I'll say this: if Alexandre will start maintaining a LGPL tree, I will
submit my code only as LGPL. Everybody who believes even _a_little_ in an
LGPL solution should do the same.


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