Joshua 'Schwa' Gargus
schwa at cc.gatech.edu
Sun Aug 17 14:31:59 UTC 2003
On Sat, Aug 16, 2003 at 11:30:52PM -0400, Anthony Panos wrote:
> I have been following this thread, and many good points have been
> made. I think it is thorny precisely because it "is" a political
> question. Let us do a thought experiment for a moment. What if Squeak
> was already licensed under the GPL? We would not even be having this
> discussion. It is as simple as that.
Not true. If it were licenced under the GPL, we might be looking at
how to replace chunks of the system with non-GPL code so that we could
eventually have a non-GPL Squeak.
> To be sure, there may be many repercussions of this course of
> action. For instance, perhaps people may not have contributed to
> Squeak's development over the last few years if it had started as GPL
> (such as Apple, and Disney, etc). That is a legitimate question. But
> there is no question that the GPL is the most "free" license, in that
> it allows everyone to use the software and hack away at it as much as
> they desire, now, and in the future.
By this criterion, the BSD and MIT licenses are just as free. Not to
mention the Squeak license.
> Debian for instance, would then have no qualms at all about including it on their distribution.
> However, as someone recently mentioned in this thread, Smalltalk is
>harder to define in terms of source code "files" than a language like
>C for instance, or even LISP. What is source? what is image? classes?
>VM? etc, etc? This may make it much harder to apply GPL, and perhaps
>the BSD license would be better suited to Squeak because of Squeak's
>special nature. These are tough questions. But, I think we should ask
>for a vote from the Squeak community.
> I vote for the GPL first, then BSD licensing, then MIT, and then APSL. In that order.
Among other things, Squeak is a programming language. A programming
language should not put licensing requirements on applications
programmed in that language. For example, GCC is licenced under the
GPL, but is used for many non-GPL projects. Indeed, GCC would likely
not be nearly as widespread if every C program compiled with it were
forced to be under the GPL. Putting Squeak under the GPL would be a
very bad idea. I think that a vote would show that there is a strong
consensus on this within the community.
> Whether this is possible is a much bigger question. I am just a
> hobbyist programmer, and not a very good one at that. Changing the
> license will require help from more knowledgeable and respected people
> to speak with the relevant people at Apple and Disney, etc. It does
> not appear that Apple, nor Disney, are interested in promoting Squeak
> for commercial purposes. Perhaps the leaders of the Squeak community
> could speak to them and convince them to set it free.
We should be clear... it is already free. There are just a couple of
practical problems with the license that we would like to resolve; for
example, if we had a license that satisfied the DFSG or OSD, it would
allow Squeak to have greater visibility, and get more users and
contributors. But as it stands right now, anyone can download
and distribute Squeak, and no entity can take that right away.
> I hope we can make Squeak more free, so it can spread and grow. The
> exact type of license is debatable, but I think we all agree it would
> be a great benefit to everyone if Squeak were licensed under one of
> the more free types of license.
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