[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Bug#147303: ITP: winex -- A DESCRIPTION



The following text summarises (for me) the TransGaming experience (most
probably to their relief). I am going to remove all related packages
and look for some orphaned package to satisfy me "tweaking" need :)
Thanks to those on debian-devel (and RMS) for making suggestions to the
text.

=====

WineX is a branch of the Wine, open source windows emulator software. 
allows running certain windows programs on a GNU/Linux operating 
system, and thus reducing, evading the Microsoft imposed Operating 
System lock-in.

Up until a couple of months ago, Wine (http://www.winehq.com) was
released under the X11 license. Contrary to the more widely spread 
better known GPL, this license allows branching the code, making 
modifications without having to release the modified source and put
restrictions on the distribution of it.

Some months ago, the license of Wine was changed from the X11 license
to the LGPL to avoid these problems, especially since wine is a 
project where a lot of people are working on and are contributing to:
volunteers and people employed by companies like CodeWeavers.

In the wake of this change, which is rumoured to be initiated by 
CodeWeavers, a branch is _again_ made to wine (ReWind) which it's
only intention is to keep the X11 license over the LGPL. Since the
LGPL is the main, contributors to the Wine project have to explicitly
agree that their patches can be included in the ReWind project (and
hence also in TransGaming's WineX).

At this point, I guess, a clear distinction between WineX and ReWind 
has to be made. ReWind is, to a large degree, tailored to be used by
WineX but to this moment, the changes made by TransGaming (also those
based on in spirit LGPL code, but allowed X11) are not brought back
to the Wine tree.
With the creation of ReWind, one can wonder if it ever will, ...

The sources on which WineX is based are put available on sourceforge
by TransGaming under the Alladin license. I guess you need to be 
some barrister to understand all these changes, or start learning.
This license allows using, changing the code, releasing binaries, 
as long as the sources are released again. One of the most important
differences with the GPL variants is that there seems to be no re-
striction on the restricting the license afterwards (which is not 
the case with the GPL).

Recently, a RFP (Request For Package) was put up on the Debian site,
and a "developer" agreed on maintaining this package. The license as
it is, allows to include it in the non-free archive.

Within hours after posting the ITP (Intent to Package) on the Debian
bug database and on the debian-devel mailing list, a mail from Trans-
Gaming's CEO/CTE Gavriel State was received, which indicates
1. "We noticed that you intend to package our AFPLed WineX package 
for release in debian (presumably non-free).  We would really prefer 
that this not happen, for a number of reasons."
2. " We would prefer not to have to change our license to explicitly 
prevent the distribution of binary packages, but if we have to we 
will do so."

There are two things in this mail:
There are claims on the rights on the code, which are valid to some 
degree. The reasons they state are commercial (development => money 
=> development) and possible confusion since the release of debian 
binaries based on their public AFP'ed CVS does not provide the full
functionality of the binaries they redistribute (amongst others, they
are not allowed to redistribute proprietary copy protection code 
used by games).
If you do distribute binaries, we will change the license to 
explicitly prohibit you from doing this.

The reaction of TransGaming concerning the binary debian release of 
WineX raises a couple of questions, that should be addressed before 
pursueing the packaging any further.

1. Does the license allow packaging?
Yes, I read through it and you can distribute binaries as long as 
you put the source available in some common format

2. Is the source free?
Well, to some degree, not the 3 RMS criteria, that's for sure

3. Who is the target audience?
I would think people interested in 3D and 3D games and development. 
I think it is pretty obvious that you are not going to satisfy a 
hard-core gamer, since there is no support for copyright protection 
and most of the tweaking is manual (downloading dll's for example).
I see such a package for enthusiasts that want to check the 
state-of-the-art in gaming without having to install windows (I 
recently checked the SoF2 demo with this, even though the game was 
only for about 30' in my HD).
I imagine it is also useful for people working with 3D graphics and 
programming on it (e.g. students develop in win32 and you do not 
want to let them show the demo on your GNU/Linux workstation)..
In both cases, it is handy, but most likely not enough to go for 
the commercial thing (one could do without it).

4. Should it be packaged?
Carefully reading the mail from Gavriel State, I did not see any 
specific objections to packaging it, but to the inclusion of the 
package in Debian.  I guess it has to do with the possible target 
audience...
Part of the objections he made, are now addressed by changing the 
name to winex-light. Even then, I do not think this will be 
sufficient for them not to change the license to prohibit binary 
redistribution when included in debian.

5. Can TransGaming change the license?
Legally I guess there within their rights to do so.
Morally (I never thought I would use this word) no. I have worked 
on some projects where I added functionality to code and I cannot 
imagine me restricting the distribution of the code from which I 
did not write the bulk of it.

6. Will it be in debian?
As things are now, no...
Distributing it would only be temporary (most likely, it would be
cut off before it even reaches unstable).

I personally think that this case explicitly shows the use and 
need for us developers to release code under the GPL and hope that,
people will think twice before contributing to non-GPL code. Even 
few people question the merrits of the work done by TransGaming,
we should not endorse this policy.


-- 
       greetz, marc
 
BOFH excuse #64:

CPU needs recalibration
pgp Key ID: 0xD3562DE1
     Key fingerprint = 890C E47F 1589 F240 9CC8  C60C 510A 63D3 D356 2DE1
Linux scorpius 2.4.19-pre4 #1 Tue Apr 2 22:47:06 CEST 2002 i686 unknown

Attachment: pgpsFUEEz1Wf9.pgp
Description: PGP signature


Reply to: