Still more License issues

Martin Cracauer
Mon, 5 May 97 14:51:04 +0200

Fare Rideau writes:
> >>: Ingemar Hulthage
> >: Dwight Hughes
> >> A related issue is what position to take on Copyright issues.
> >> [CMUCL and FreeBSD tradition] i.e essentially no restrictions at all.
> >> I propose that LispOS code should be given away freely at no cost
> >> (as is, with no warranties) and with no other restriction
> >> than that the use of LispOS
> >> code should be acknowledged in any redistribution.
> >
> >
> What if Microsoft, or whoever, then takes your code,
> make it proprietary, and cast customers into another world
> of submission to their lousy substandards?
> That's the only thing you can hope to gain that way!

They can keep their changes, but they can't keep people from
developing the free branch further.

Look at BSDI and FreeBSD/NetBSD. The free versions are not technically
inferiour, as long as people invest their time to support the free
version. If we don't have people who do, the project would be stagnant
at that point anyway.

So what would you loose if someone make a commercial version from your
work? I'd say we even *gain* from it since more people will hear about
the LispOS thing and then can choose between the free and the
commercial version. If people loose interest in deveoping the free
version further, I'd prefer to have the commercial one improving than
no improvement at all.
> >> This is somewhat different from the 'Free Software Foundation's (FSF)
> >> approach, adopted by Linux, which through complicated restrictions,
> >> try to ensure that derivative works are also released under the same
> >> license.  I personaly think that's unnecessary and a detriment to
> >> commercial use.
> How do you imagine GPL is any detrimental to fair commercial activity?
> Aren't Cygnus, RedHat, and more, successfully selling services around
> free software? Isn't Caldera marketing commercial software for Linux?

The BSD and Linux camps discussed this to death. Your examples are all
true. You even left out the ObjC things developed by NeXT and fed back
into gcc and gdb.

But a number of BSD developers (and very powerful ones, they are)
stated they wouldn't support a GPL system. Anyone interested should
check dejanews and search for it, especially John Dyson's comments.

Suppose we have a handful of people who would invest time in the free
version of LispOS until they could sell it and then place their own
branch under a commercial copyright? What's wrong with that? They
would make money out of code written by the free-license people and
those wouldn't get a penny out of their work. Maybe they never do the
step to found the company and contribute for many years?

So what? My interest is a) to get a system running at all and b) to
get as much free high-quality software as possible. None of these are
violated if someone takes a branch of my code and sells it.

My only way to choose one of the licenses (BSD, GPL or public domain)
is to choose the one that gets the most developers into the boat. My
own goals are not related to a license, but to the performance of the
development team, which is soemwhat f(licese).

Martin Cracauer <>
Fax +49 40 522 85 36