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Re: Nomination question: Redhat

On Tue, Dec 15, 1998 at 06:14:13AM -0800, Joseph Carter wrote:

> Essentially, the accusation is that Redhat is selling out on us by not
> allowing GPL libs and replacing GPL libs where they can with Redhat
> written code under the LGPL.  I see no reason why they would be doing
> this, but the argument is the same we've probably all heard by now:  Sun
> and Netscape don't want to take out Microsoft for being an evil monopoly,
> they want to replace Microsoft as the next one.  Well, the argument is
> that Redhat is trying to do this as well.

Hmm, I doubt Red Hat would have removed the libreadline library, since that
would make bash work rather terribly.  In that case, they aren't removing
_all_ GPL'd libraries at least.

Without any grounding in fact (oops?), I wouldn't be too surprised to
see Red Hat trying to re-implement any GPL'd libraries as LGPL or similar. 
Guess what: who cares.  That's their right.  By writing more free software,
they're improving the situation, not hurting it.

People who GPL their libraries are hoping to influence proprietary vendors
to release their products as free.  The encouragement to do this comes from
the fact that if they don't make their program free, they have to write the
library again themselves.  Well, if Red Hat wants to write the library again
themselves, that's their right.  If that encourages proprietary vendors to
port to Linux, that's good too.

Every restriction you place in your license is a risk; it reduces the number
of people who can/will use your program.  Some people will refuse to use
GPLed programs and libraries because they don't want to release their
proprietary derivatives.  If you don't want to take that risk, use a BSD or
MIT-like license.  Each author needs to weigh the benefits (possible
conversion of other proprietary software to free) against the cost (some
people won't use your software).

I hope Debian adopts any and all of the less-restrictive replacement
libraries that Red Hat produces, if they're well done.  At the same time, I
think it would be dumb for either distribution to throw out a GPLed library
while there is no less-restrictive replacement or while the GPLed version
works better.

Have fun,


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