LGPL, and real World
hetz at witch.dyndns.org
Sat Feb 16 03:02:55 CST 2002
I do not wish to interrupt the nice email party going on here, but I
wish to bring an example in real life which might let people re-think
I'll try to be a simple as I can. The following case is totally
For the sake of this email, lets say I'm a lead developer in a company
caled qwerty-wine, and one of my customers want me to develop a
software for his palm top tun Visio XP on it, for the field engineers.
For the sake of this example, lets say I'm checking out wine cvs today.
Now - lets say that now is May, Codeweavers had decided to switch to
LGPL and lets say that I am their competitor and I just had become
aware of a DLL which is not implemented, but it is (according to a co-
developer) implemented in Wine under the LGPL tree, so it means I'm
2 "cvs" commands from getting their implementation...
Now - what if my product is totally a closed source one and my client
doesn't want to reveal a single source code line? then I have 2
choices regarding this DLL:
1. I can Ignore the DLL in the Wine tree and re-implement it from
where it was before the license has been changed and I keep the
changes since it already implemented in Wine tree (and my customer
doesn't want to reveal code).
2. I can "steal" this code from the new LGPL wine tree, and saving
myself 90% of headache how to implement it, and invest 10% of the time
to change the code cosmetically to look different, so if CodeWeaver's
wine DLL looked like:
Then my code will look like:
So the code is different, but it does same thing, and I still keep my
Who's loosing here? CodeWeavers. I used their code and no one got
nothing out of this. Nada. Zilch. Zero. All their investment on that
DLL implementation went down, they'll have hard time to re-cap this
Lets say that CodeWeavers could drag me to court and I'll be happy to
show the code to the Judge or any 3rd party mediator - what he'll see?
he'll see completly 2 different implementations which give same
results. I win the case and I can collect damages from CodeWeavers.
I repeat again - all the above is a FICTION. I'm not a developer (I'm
unemployed at the moment) and the whole case - I made it up (although
I heard some people were interested to see Wine on Embedded). But you
wouldn't know if your competitor will use this trick with your code,
will you? TransGaming probably won't do it, but others?
So yes, CodeWeaver have their full right to move their code to LGPL or
whatever. Is it a smart move for the Wine development move? yes. Is it
a smart move business wide? IMHO - no, but CodeWeavers is a private
company, and it's Jeremy full right to decide what to do with their
I support CodeWeavers (bought their crossover even if I used it for 2
days), Transgaming (I subscribed, even if their code doesn't make my
games work yet), and Lindows (I'll keep my Redhat and multi user
approach, thank you!) and I plan to continue to do so - but will
CodeWeaver exists due to this move? for a long term - I'm not sure,
although I surely hope to be wrong here..
Just food for thought...
Hetz Ben Hamo
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