Re: Proposed license policy

Ian Peters <itp helixcode com> writes:

> On Mon, Dec 04, 2000 at 03:07:11PM -0800, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> > Ian Peters <itp helixcode com> writes:
> > > GPL libraries can surely be used by other free software projects, and
> > > that doesn't always mean internal.
> > > 
> > 
> > They could be if those projects want to live on the edge and use
> > internal use libraries and which are not part of the GNOME platform
> > (which means we don't guarantee API/ABI stability for instance).
> I guess if these libraries aren't to be dubbed "official" by the GNOME
> project, the authors of those libraries could make their own promises
> of stability...

Yep. The authors could say whatever they want about these
libraries. The GNOME Project as a whole would just say "these are not
part of the platform".

> Hmm, I guess there is a bit of disagreement here.  I don't see GPL'd
> libraries as off-limits the same way you do.  To be sure, to use them
> developers would have to make licensing or design changes to their
> applications, but I'm not sure this is reason enough to not embrace
> them under the GNOME mantle.

We currently have companies that want to deliver applications on the
GNOME platform, ones where there is not even the beginning of a free
equivalent. I don't think it is viable, as of today, to expect the
companies that develop these programs to change to a free license
right away. I prefer use of the carrot to use of the stick.

> The GNU project has a long standing tradition of choosing the GPL
> vs. LGPL based on whether a proprietary alternative already exists,
> and we might do well to examine that policy when making our own
> decisions, as we are part of the GNU project.

The GNOME project has historically placed somewhat more weight on
viability as a development platform for proprietary applications,
whereas the GNU project leadership often sees this goal as peripheral,
if not outright undesirable. 

Maybe we should have a discussion about how we feel on this. I am a
die-hard free software fanatic and want to see free applications for
every purpose under the sun, but I don't want us to drive off
proprietary developers either. I would appreciate other opinions on

> Perhaps we could have some metric of essential vs. non-essential
> libraries?  As an example, GAL, which is primarily at this time a
> widget repository, certainly isn't required for GNOME development.  I
> definitely don't want to see core technology, on the
> bonobo/oaf/gnome-libs plane, licensed exclusively for free software
> use.

I guess we could have, as Havoc suggested, a GPL devel platform for
clearly nonessential stuff that we nontheless want to make stability
promises for or whatever. GAL definitely couldn't be part of even a
GPL devel platform right now though, since it explicitly disclaims all
promises of API/ABI stability.

Do you think we need to define the parameters for a "GPL devel
platform" right now, or can we wait until we have libraries that are
candidates for inclusion in a GPL devel platform (GPL'd, part of
GNOME, not for internal use only, and willing to guarantee API/ABI

 - Maciej

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