Re: Corel Lawsuit
I'm not sure whether I should be posting this message. Spokesperson isn't
my real job (I'm an engineer), but the people whose real job it is may not
be able to respond on debian.devel in time to avert the weekend flamefest
I'm dreading. Though perhaps part of the problem has been that people
have been hearing from too many spokespeople and not enough engineers.
Regardless, what follows should in no way be construed as any sort of
official Corel position. It's just me talking.
I'm one of several dozen people working on open source projects at Corel.
As I see the postings here and on slashdot claiming that we're trying to
'pull one over' on the community, or that we're just freeloaders and
clueless to boot, I wonder whether people even know what we've actually
contributed? We've been working *really* hard trying to get Linux in
the hands of the average desktop user, and we've released *everything*
we've done under open source licenses (much of it under the GPL, some
under our version of the MPL, and some under the BSDish WINE license):
- All of our setup code - our low-level setup API, hardware and configuration
detection code, our setup UI, our partitioning tool, our graphical LILO, etc.
- Our written-from-scratch file manager, with integrated samba, ftp, and NFS
- Our graphical front end to APT.
- Our improved KDE: hundreds of bug fixes; new control panels for
networking, printing, and display configuration; improved kpanel; new
documentation; various UI tweaks, and on and on.
- Gobs and gobs of work on WINE (most new apps we throw at it are now about
90% functional within a week or so).
It's incredibly painful to see our intentions misperceived as they have
been. We're trying to make and improve free software, and to forge
relationships with the wider community. Now that our engineering team
is coming back from post-shipping vacations, we're starting the process
of integrating our desktop work with KDE 2.0, and improving our packaging
structure to improve compatibility with potato, etc.
When it comes to license issues, I'm no expert, but I can tell you that
where we've had conflicts in the past we've learned from our mistakes. I
don't fully understand the legal department's reasoning behind the minors
clause, but I'm sure the clause wasn't put there because we have something
against minors or because we *want* to deny minors the ability to use our
software. The issue of whether a minor can be bound to the terms of a
copyright license, and the implications within the legal jurisdictions
Corel operates under are complicated ones.
Looking at clause 2-b of the GPL, I can see at least one interpretation
myself that would *require* the 'minors clause' to prevent the licensing
of the software to a third party who would not be bound to the GPLs own
redistribution requirements. Or perhaps that makes it redundant. I'm
not a lawyer - I don't really know.
What I do know is that it's more productive for everyone if we work on
these issues as a community. Corporations are big and awkward, and by
their nature can't fit into a community as easily as individuals can.
But if we can work better together, I think that you'll find that we
have lots more to contribute.
BTW, we're working on an infrastructure for improving our ties to the wider
community. It's not ready yet, but when it's up there will be a link to
it at: http://linux.corel.com/products/linux_os/opensource_development.htm
Engineering Architect - Linux Development
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