Clarification on my call for license change

Brett Glass brett at
Sat Feb 16 03:51:47 CST 2002

At 09:02 PM 2/15/2002, David Elliott wrote:

>Given the choice of CodeWeavers releasing no code at all, or releasing under the LGPL, which do you prefer?


>The bottom line is that if the biggest contributor to the project wants to go LGPL then you can bet their tree will be better.

This sounds very much as if you would like to allow CodeWeavers to 
determine the entire future of the project regardless of what anyone 
else thinks. Is this correct?

Yes, CodeWeavers has contributed quite a lot of code to WINE. But
it is not clear that CodeWeavers, with its current business model, is
likely to remain in business no matter what license WINE uses. 

And, ironically, there are compelling arguments that CodeWeavers is 
likely to go under faster if the (L)GPL is adopted. Why? Because the 
company will no longer be able to serve its clients' best interests. 
Instead, it will have to disclose to potential clients (at least if 
it's being honest) something like the following:

"Because WINE is licensed under the LGPL (thanks to us), and the code 
we write for you will be licensed under the LGPL, all of your competitors 
will be able to take advantage of the code even though you're footing 
the bill for its development. We won't do anything for you that gives 
your product an exclusive feature or some other competitive edge. Good 
luck in the marketplace!"

I do not think that this would get CodeWeavers many customers. So,
they'll either have to lie, withhold material information (i.e., fail 
to disclose the full implications of the (L)GPL), or lose the lion's 
share of their business.

Thus, the most likely outcome is that CodeWeavers will go belly-up.
I hate to seem like a prophet of doom, but unless they're snatched
up by someone like Red Hat this is the most likely prognosis. (Red 
Hat is likely to fail in the long term as well, but due to its large
market cap it will take longer to exhaust investors' money.) No
rocket science here -- just basic business principles.

Worse still, if it is allowed to determine the license by fiat,
CodeWeavers will leave great damage behind. It will have irreparably 
consigned WINE to a license that will forever limit its application.

IMHO, this is not at all a good way to go. If one looks forward
rather than backward, it's quite clear that WINE should remain
under a truly free license. 


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