Commercial support

Holly Bostick motub at
Mon May 9 10:33:49 CDT 2005

gslink schreef:

> All that you say is quite true but I still think that the main enemy of
> Wine is Microsoft.  Microsoft will eventually attempt to destroy Wine
> because only they are threatened by it.  There was an LGPL change true
> but did that change stop anyone from stealing Wine?  I seriously doubt
> it because what would happen if someone stole the library?  Wine would
> need to hunt up some rather obscure program and prove from the binary
> that Wine code was stolen.  This sort of thing is unlikely to happen
> because it requires too much education and work on the part of the
> thief.  If you don't believe me try including Wine or the library in
> another program and getting the result to work correctly.  You will have
> to figure out what the Wine code is doing first and that is hard work.
> Besides, there is no reasonable way to keep Wine from being incorporated
> in another product as long as the license is followed and who would want
> to.  If others believe theft to be a problem then I suggest looking at
> and DEALING with the recording industry.  The startup recording artist
> has the same problems as Wine and the recording industry banded together
> to be a very effective counter.  They and the film industry are the only
> ones who might be able to counter Microsoft. Wine would be well advised
> not to leave Microsoft out of their calculations because my biggest fear
> is still a suit charging Wine with stealing all the code and the idea
> from Microsoft.  In such a case merit has nothing to do with it.

If this is your belief, and we accept it as fact for the purposes of
this discussion, then two things are implied.

1) You're right; any listing of commercial supporters at this time is an
error, because you are then making such companies a target for possible
Microsoft coercion-- which is not a nice thing to do to your friends,
and many of the entities that potentially might contribute are not
necessarily prepared to stand up to MS coercion;

2) Wine is on the radar now, and must find a way to interact with others
like a "player" (which also means a "target", obviously). How can this
project protect its friends (or itself) from such threats? Somebody on
this list previously said that the project can't even give an "official"
receipt to contributors for tax purposes.

If the project intends to enter the "commercial" realm visibly by
soliciting/publishing donations in an organized fashion from corporate
entities that need such documentation, there must be some kind of
infrastructure that interacts with the "commercial" world as it exists
now, both in its good points (the paperwork) and bad points (the threats).

What, for example, is the project's assurance that any sponsor-submitted
code will not trigger the very lawsuit you're afraid of? If it did, what
would the liability of the other sponsors be? If the "bad code" was
related to another sponsor's code in some way, but the second sponsor
was not otherwise 'affiliated' with the project (the bad code gave them
an idea, they wrote something based on it and sent it in, then
disappeared)? If they had submitted code unrelated to the "bad" code,
but after the actionable code had been integrated into the project as a
whole? Would this second sponsor be liable or not? Somebody would have
to be dedicated to check submitted code thorougly for such problems, or
somebody would have to draw up some kind of liability limitation
statement for code submissions. IANAL (obviously, I'm sure), but this is
the kind of thing that occurs to me with even my limited knowledge. It
certainly would require (human) resources that the project may well have
available, but unactivated.

Basically, if the project is "big" enough (in terms of code success) to
be such a threat as you describe to Microsoft, then the project is
likely also "big enough" (in terms of having friends with useful
capacities-- financial, legal, or other) to protect itself from them to
greater or lesser degree. What seems really to be a danger is the
"sucker punch"-- a forceful strike at an unaware or unprepared victim.
Naturally, the possibility of such increases the longer one continues to
behave as if one is completely safe and unnoticeable, in defiance of an
apparently increasingly threatening reality, which seems to be what
you're warning of.

I admit that I don't know what kind of entity could encompass the
project's current nature and also have the kind of clout necessary to
repel the kind of threats you're concerned about.

But it certainly sounds like a team should be dedicated to finding out
before the project comes yet further "out of the closet".


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