beware GNU Smalltalk if you want to contribute to squeak

goran at goran at
Wed Jan 9 23:02:20 UTC 2008

Hi again! (this post is a Molotov cocktail)

I noticed how some people entered these discussions with a... well, let
us call it refreshingly naive attitude (nothing negative implied). I
mean, how complicated can this "license thingy" really be, right?

Let me Count The Ways...

First everyone should review:

I mean, yes, Squeak v1.1 is available as of today under 3 licenses:
SqueakL (the original license as displayed), APSL 2.0 and Apache license
2.0. But that is just a tiiiiny bit of the current Squeak codebase!
Still of course a nice thing - and you could take Squeak v1.1 and run
from there and have a clean BSDish base to build on (Apache v2 is

Then a quite large percentage of Squeak (IIRC right after Disney about
80% of the Squeak-at-the-time was in fact new code added at Disney) was
written at Disney and AFAIK that codebase is still only available under
SqueakL. There have been different opinions about the ownership of that
codebase - is it Disney's or Alan's team? If Alan is right and it is all
owned by them - then there is no problem. But... is he right?

Then we have all the contributions being made during the years. These
are all considered to be under SqueakL and now - there is a great effort
by VPRI to get all contributors (or at least a majority of us) to sign
that all our contributions are also available under the MIT license -
which is one of the dead simplest most open licenses available.

So... yes, the smallest of cores (v1.1) is available under Apache
license 2.0 which is more or less a BSD license (though incompatible
with GPL - see And
then a large part - probably the majority - of all individiually
contributed parts are available under MIT - nuff said.

This still leaves us with the large part of Disney-SqueakL-code. And
well, I should not even say this but parts of the VM support code base
is available under yet other variations IIRC (I may be wrong here, Ian
may have changed that - and it is not at all as unclear since we are
then in the realm of C-linking etc and the rules are relatively easy to

Ok, I am rambling - but unless the Disney-issue is cleared I still can't
see that we have Squeak under anything else than SqueakL as a whole. And
don't get me wrong - SqueakL is a quite nice license - it just happens
to fail the OSI validation and the DFSG guidelines (Debian). :)

Over and out - let the carnage begin. ;) ;)

regards, Göran

More information about the Squeak-dev mailing list