GNU A Possible Ally?

Kelly Murray kem@Franz.COM
Sun, 11 May 1997 01:05:56 -0700

I wasn't going to follow up on this GNU stuff, but this isn't
quite the same topic, so please excuse me.

>From: Jordan Henderson <jordan@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM>
> 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.

This is pretty much what happened with UNIX, scores of modified
proprietary versions.  A huge commercial success.

It seems to me this objection, which I believe was also a motivation
for RMS to create GPL (commercial emacs more popular than his free
one), shows the fundamental flaw in the why GPL impedes progress.
GPL'ers don't want the commercial competition,
because they know they can't keep up.  So they don't allow it.
Competition is a very good thing.  Cooperation is also a good thing.
You need both to make progress.  

-Kelly Edward Murray