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[REBOL] Re: Yes, REBOL/Core is still free

From: chris:starforge at: 22-May-2001 20:36

#22-May-01# Message from *Holger Kruse*: Hi Holger,
> The study is a success, and development on the full application starts. As > much code from the original prototype as possible is supposed to be > reused, because the tight time frame for a 1.0 release only allows for > "adding new features", not for "reengineering the whole product". This > means some of the "free stuff" now requires redistribution licensing. At > that time the legal department realizes that, unfortunately, some of the > "free stuff" is under GPL (not LGPL), so it cannot be included in a > closed-source application. Open-source is not an option, so this means > some of the "free stuff" has to be removed, parts of the application have > to be rewritten, some of the features in the "free stuff" have to be > spec'ed out and then reimplemented under white room conditions, by a > separate engineering time, the release date is pushed back, customers > switch to a competitor's product. The company loses millions. > Sound familar ? Did this happen in your company, too ? :-) These kinds of > things have been very common in the last few years.
Just a point, I don't want to flare up a GPL war on here similar to the one on MooBunny at present but this is FUD. There is nothing in the GPL which states "you may not contact the author to negotiate special terms", there is nothing in the GPL which says "the author may not exempt selected bodies from the GPL at his discretion". If a company uses GPL code in a prototype and then reimplements it in the production code then they are causing their own problem. Perhaps they should actually consider contacting the author of the modules to negotiate a commercial exemption? Perhaps they should have realised what would happen in the first place? Sure, OSS nuts will refuse, but there's no harm in asking is there? Some authors will be quite willing to allow commercial use provided they get royalties or a lump sum. Slating the GPLed code simply because you can't stick it in a commercial app and forget about the guys who wrote it (like M$ and their TCP stack) is not what I'd expect from a responsible company. But perhaps you are aiming this more at the people who said things along the lines of "how can I convince them to use REBOL when there are free alternatives like Perl or Python"? If so, you haven't answered the question. Simply using Perl does not force you to open source your scripts, only the FUDmongers claim otherwise, often because they have a vested interest in scaring everyone off these alternatives. If you use a bunch of GPL perl scripts in your app, then things are different, but just using Perl has no more effect than using gcc to compile your C++ classes. Besides, I think this is a long way from the "free" that most people here understood - free as in no charge, free with no "except for..". The free which was prominent on your website until recently. Most people here aren't complaining about the fact that this has changed so much as the fact that we weren't even told about the changes! We didn't even get a warning. PR gaff or whatever, this does not instil trust in the developers who you need to keep to stop REBOL slipping into obscurity. We may only be your users, but we are users who can just throw in the towel and go elsewhere if we want. There's nothing keeping peole here except their appeciation of the language, an appreciation many are willing to pay hansomly for. But by the same token, p**sing people off will not win you friends.
> I feel very strongly about this and could go on and on forever, having witnessed how, > e.g., large portions of the Amiga commercial software market along with many useful > applications were literally destroyed by the effects of GPL on the platform, and
Ok, you've lost me there. I've never heard of any Amiga commercial software marking being "destroyed by the effects of GPL software." I can count the number of major GPLed Amiga apps on one hand. I've heard of the commercial market being destroyed by lying, incompetent parent company owners who change their minds every 3 months and go bust every 18, by exponentially falling userbase figures and by the utter lack of decent commercial software (a few outstanding cases exempted) but GPL software has never really come top of my "nailing the Amiga coffin lid shut" list. Chris -- New sig in the works Explorer 2260, Designer and Coder -- FLASH! Intelligence of mankind decreasing. Details at ... uh, when the little hand is on the ....