> > I agree that this is bad news, but a major good-faith effort should be
> > made to get the authors to release under DFSG/OSD-free terms before
> > forking a version. Perhaps they do not realize how much they are
> > potentially losing by taking this approach. I'm going to do my part
> > and write them; I'd like to see some prominent names if the free
> > software community do so as well.
> It's worth a shot.
> It might be difficult to convince them to go along though, since they
> are a small company and I bet they are mortgaging their homes to make
> this work. It's the same difficult situation (and similar license
> problems) that TrollTech is in with Qt.
It's worth a very serious shot. I already wrote and told them of the
dangers of stooopid licensing tricks, namely loss of good will, loss
of contributions from the net, and the threat of a fork or cloning
effort. I cited the canonical examples of packages that spawned forks
or duplication efforts like Pine, Qt and KDE (which isn't even
non-free itself, it just depends on a non-free package). I didn't
mention Motif/Lesstif or the current controversy over the withholding
of features from the free Linux sound drivers, and how this is making
people want to fork from the commercial development stream thereof. If
they realize that this kind of action will just create an extremely
determined and capable competitor, they may well reconsider.
I also mentioned ways they could make money while keeping the core VM
package DFSG free.
If more people do so, they may be more inclined to believe that the
motivation for a forking effort exists. I think they honesstly
convinced themselves that the terms they sketched out would be
acceptable to the free software community and they need to be made
aware that they aren't.
Resigning ourselves to the necessity of a fork without giving
reconciliation a try will result in a lot of wasted duplicated effort
for everyone, so please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him so.
- Maciej Stachowiak
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