Re: Code of Conduct and Foundation membership
- From: Richard Stallman <rms gnu org>
- To: "Miguel de Icaza" <miguel novell com>
- Cc: foundation-list gnome org
- Subject: Re: Code of Conduct and Foundation membership
- Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009 11:22:35 -0500
We wanted Gnome to be a free software stack, and that was our
requirement. Gnome itself was assembled out of the available
components plus the requirements of the community that emerged early on.
GNOME was made out of available components and new components. In
particular, we discussed plans for new libraries, and decided how to
We didn't include Red Hat in that discussion, since it was a GNU
Project matter. However, from what you said, the decision we made
for free software reasons would also have satisifed what Red Hat wanted
for its GNU/Linux distribution.
The individual pieces of Gnome are no longer just
used by Gnome, or designed merely to be part of Gnome, they are
built to be reusable not only by KDE, but also by server applications, or
mobile applications; And they are licensed to allow proprietary developers
to use them.
I hope that you are making an overstatement when you claim that GNOME
has lost all influence over the licensing of components developed for
GNOME. It would be a shame if GNOME can only drift with the current.
I also hope it is an overstatement to say that all GNOME components
have been licensed in ways that fail to give any advantage to free
software packages over proprietary software. If true, that would mean
useful opportunities to boost other free software have been wasted.
But even if those things are true, they can be changed in the future.
GNOME can recover influence on licensing decisions. New components
will surely be developed for GNOME, and GNOME can ask developers to
follow licensing practice designed to help the free software cause.
The motives for the policy we decided in 1997 or 1998 are still valid:
we want proprietary programs to be able to work with GNOME, and we
want to help free software developers compete technically with
Thus, libraries needed for an app to work with GNOME should be
licensed so proprietary apps can use them. Libraries that help people
develop apps, or help the apps work better, should be limited to use
within free software, so as to give our fellow free software
developers an advantage.
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