nanogui: Licensing summary
Re: Licensing summary
"Vidar Hokstad" ####@####.####
5 Oct 1999 14:28:01 -0000
On Tue, 5 Oct 1999 09:59:51 -0400 you wrote:
>Consider this: "Yes, you can use this cool, free Micro* thingy for your
>project, but you have to, uh..., er..., buy our driver to get it to work."
>For embedded, it's not like you can just swap out the graphics card to a
>supported one like you can in a PC.
>Granted, we could reverse engineer the driver, but what I'm saying is that
>vendors, if given the ($PL) route, will probably take it, but if we don't
>give them that route, they might decide to release their driver, benefitting
Consider this: I go to a company, because I _need_ their hardware for
my project, and I want to use NanoGUI. They say: Fine, but you can't
release the source or object code. The result? I choose something other
than NanoGUI. Hardware is what drives our cost, and if I'd have to choose
more expensive, or inferior hardware to be able to use NanoGUI, then
NanoGUI - *not* the hardware - would be what I would consider my problem.
>> b. The ability to work with, communicate with, and be linked with,
>> private, proprietary applications. (commercial software shops use our
>> their application; they'll never go open source, but still want/choose our
>This is simply solved by using LGPL on the client side. Take GNOME for an
It's a completely different market. Gnome doesn't run on any systems that
doesn't support networking or dynamic linking. It also isn't used primarily
in an environment where many companies have policies that prevent you from
licensing your software for use with LGPL'd or similar licenses no matter
how you do it.
>> 2. We _would_like_to_have:
>> a. All modifications to original files, whether they're enhancements
>> or bug fixes. It'd be nice to have them back, but not required.
>Yes, we would like to have them back, so let's require it for the server
>side. Linux does.
An FreeBSD etc. doesn't. That Linux does isn't an argument for or against
requiring it for NanoGUI.
>If a vendor is on the fence, which way do you think they will go? I think
>that they will probably go $PL if given that option. If not given that
>option, then I think that they will be more likely to contribute back.
>BTW, the MPL has a serious flaw in that you can avoid contributing stuff
>back to the project just by putting it in a separate file.
You see it as a flaw, some see it as a feature. It hasn't stopped Mozilla
for instance from getting massive amounts of new contributed code, even
outside the standard code base, and at the same time it has attracted lots
of companies that wouldn't have considered it had it been under the GPL
or LGPL, but that nevertheless contribute at least parts of their code
>> 3. We _must_not_have:
>> a. The ability to use the graphics engine, lock stock and barrel,
>> for whatever purposes are desired???? [It is this 3a that I can't quite
>> grips with]
>Let everyone use it as they please, only require that they release their
>improvements back to the community. Is that too much to ask?
No, but if you use GPL or LGPL, you don't let everyone use it as they
please. In fact, you exclude a rather large part of the embedded and
small devices community.
>Please, let's not fall into the trap of thinking that the success or failure
>of Micro* depends on how many embedded vendors pick it up. I think that for
>it to truly succeed means that it becomes the best FREE graphics system
>available for small devices, and that for it to remain free it needs the
>protection that the GNU GPL affords - protection that is certainly NOT
>present in (and would be effectively nullified by) the MPL.
How come XFree has been so successful, then, if a license as restrictive
as the GPL is required?
>It really comes down do this: are we committed to free software, or are we
>just trying to please everyone?
I am comitted to whatever give me a good platform to develop embedded and
small systems solutions on with the minimum hassle. If the NanoGUI license
gets to restrictive, I will simply go and find some more suitable project.
>I hope that we decide that free software is more important than being
>popular. Where would we be today if others before us who were faced
>with this decision chose the popular way? Would we have GNU? Would we
>have Linux? I don't think so, and the same might be said about Micro*
>someday... or not.
Would there be X?
X is a lot more widespread than GNU or Linux, so according to your argument,
maybe we should accept the XFree or X consortium license. The reality is
that comparing to X or Linux or GNU is meaningless. This is a completely
different area, and a type of devices where most users will never even
install any software themselves.