GNU A Possible Ally?

Jordan Henderson jordan@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM
Sat, 10 May 1997 22:21:56 -0500 (CDT)

Ingemar Hulthage <> writes:
> I just don't buy the arguments that it does anything for the chances
> of LispOS, to adopt GPL.

How about this scenario.  LispOS develops to some level of maturity.
All of the CL Vendors grab a (fairly) stable snapshot and bolt on
their own CL technology.  They then put their people to work on
incompatible extensions.  There is great value in each supported
system and many of them have advantages over the PD LispOS, one of
which being a commercial firm that takes responsibility for 
maintenance.  Users select one of the many LispOS variants for
their own work.  The impetus to improve the PD LispOS is much diluted
because the much of the large potential user base is off using commercial 
variants, which all move in their own various directions. 

This, I think, is a realistic scenario.  The only way the LispOS could
gain some mindshare in the world at large is if there was one product 
that would steadily be improved to meet the needs of users.  Anything
else is marginilization.

I want LispOS to succeed in some other way than as a proof of concept,
or a bunch of old-timers some day lamenting what could have become of
their efforts "if only".

Specifically, what advantage is there to allow people to make 
incompatible commercial versions?

I'm not married to GPL.  If you can show me another license that would
avoid locked-up commercial versions of the product, then I would 
look at it.  Maybe some kind of limited license to the work.  Entities
are licensed to use the base code for inclusion in commercial 
copyrighted software for 5 years or something, when all derived 
works become public domain.  I dunno, I doubt that this would do
anything but encourage people to grab it for a few years and then
to cleanroom redo the technology so that it includes no base LispOS
code.  Seems like a lot of wasted, duplicated efforts to me.

> Ingemar