VM Licensing Issues -Reply

Ray Whitmer RAY@corel.com
Mon, 12 May 1997 17:07:29 -0600

** High Priority **

>>> "Bill House" <bhouse@dazsi.com> 05/12/97 03:27pm >>>
>My belief is that the VM souce code ought to be freeware, without
>except that there does need to be an entity that holds the copyright,
>everyone a cost-free license to use, modify, redistribute, sell derivative
>works, etc. I don't want anyone to feel constrained from using or
>to the codebase, and if everyone has an equal chance to benefit, then
>I'm happy
>with that.

Yes.  The organization could also wield some power, as Sun with Java,
to certify and ensure compliance levels.  I even have no problem with a
certification fee that comes with a special recognition/naming, as long as
the basic kits and source rights are freely available and usable in
commercial work.  That all comes after the base implementation is freely

>On the issue of competitive modifications only making their way into
>proprietary variants, well, I have to say I'm not so concerned -- it we are
>fortunate as to have this problem, then I think it's up to us (or the entity
>that holds the copyright) to rally enough interest to keep evolving the

Yes.  And if the need arose eventually, the possibility is still there for
some branch of the organization to exert the same right every other
organization has -- to produce commercial variants.  Of course,
organizations will have some trouble with making free contributions
which leverage their directions without the contributions going to the free
base.  And if a free competing standard was made available to any
proprietary works, it would have to become preferred, or the work of the
organization becomes discredited.  And when the base enchilada stops
being freely available, it is time for a new organization to take over using
the rights to the last freely-available version and a new name.

This is a problem some have with the many contributions being made to
Sun's Java which is only available for commercial development by paying
a large fee or by complete from-scratch clean room implementation of the
entire environment.  We think they mean well right now.  But later, they
may decide not to license to us or change too much, just like Microsoft
has done selectively with Visual Basic to their identified worst

Ray Whitmer