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GNU Win32? Not anymore.

Well, at least I didn't spend too much time trying to get dpkg
to run on "GNU Win32"...

As I was saying before - another "almost-free" license to stick on
the trophy shelf beside the Troll Tech license.  I'm particularily
disturbed by Cygnus' concept of "Free Sofware".


 - Jim

------- Forwarded Message

Subject: Revised Cygwin32 licensing terms
To: gnu-win32@cygnus.com
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 16:58:37 -0700 (PDT)
From: gordoni@cygnus.com (Gordon Irlam)

We have revised the licensing terms on Cygwin32.  Previously Cygwin32 was
licensed under the GPL.  This restricted the use of Cygwin32 in proprietary
software.  The new license allows Cygwin32 to be used in both free and
proprietary software, except by direct competitors of Cygnus.

Details of the new license are available from the GNU Win32 home page:


We haven't yet built a new release, but when we do, we will be incorporating
the new licensing terms into it.

It has been tricky for us to figure out the details of the Cygwin32 license.
This is because Cygwin32 includes both a set of applications, and a set of
library code developers include with the code they have written.  The
original license for Cygwin32 was the FSF Library GPL.  However, we found the
Library GPL went to far in enabling Cygnus' business competitors to take and
benefit from the work we had performed on Cygwin32, without contributing
anything back in return.  As a result we decided to switch to licensing
Cygwin32 under the GPL.  Unfortunately, we then found a lot of people who
would otherwise have been interested in using Cygwin32 were unwilling to do
so, because they were not willing to license their code under the GPL.  We
are now attempting to find a balance somewhere between the two previous
licenses we tried.

The new licensing terms for Cygwin32 permits anyone to make use of Cygwin32
without adhering to the GPL, and without being required to make their
sources available, provided that in so doing they are not attempting to
directly compete with Cygnus.  The reason we decided it was necessary to
prevent the use of Cygwin32 by companies that are competing directly with
Cygnus is explained below.

Cygnus specializes in the provision of development tools for embedded
systems. Cygnus is responsible for perhaps 80% of all on going GCC
development, and 95% of all GDB development.  We commercialize our
development efforts through our GNUPro compiler tool chain.  Other people and
organizations contribute to, and benefits from our work.

We have found that some of our embedded systems competitors have taken the
work we have publically released and then are using it to compete directly
with us.  These companies typically do not contribute back to the ongoing
development of GCC.  Several examples follow.  Taos Systems uses GCC as the
compiler for their embedded operating system, but are not involved in the
ongoing maintenance of GCC, and haven't made any of the modifications they
have made to GCC publicly available.  Wind River, a major embedded systems
developer, with a market valuation of around $1100m, makes heavy uses of the
GNU tools including GCC, and even has a proprietary graphical front end to
GDB (that has been designed in such a way as to get around the GPL), but
they currently don't contribute anything to the ongoing development of any
of GCC and GDB tools.  Tao Mountain (unrelated to Taos Systems) did a port of
GCC for IDT to the IDT MIPS R5000, but have never merged their sources back
with the FSF.  We find ourselves at a competitive disadvantage relative to
these companies because these companies manage to avoid the software
development costs Cygnus has to pay.

We want to make Cygwin32 widely available, because we want to maximum number
of people that have access to it, and are able to extend and modify it.  We
believe that doing this will improve Cygwin32 both in terms of its quality
and features, and you are encouraged to return any changes you make to
Cygwin32 to Cygnus for inclusion in a future release.  On the other hand we
feel our direct competitors in the embedded tools space should not be able
to take Cygwin32, which we developed, and use it to compete directly with
us.  We hope the new Cygwin32 licensing terms will meet our goals.

                                             Gordon Irlam
                                             Technical Product Manager
                                             Cygnus Solutions
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