Subject: Re: open source definition
From: Michael Tiemann <>
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 13:57:45 -0700

    OK, does *anyone* know of *any company that got *any money to build
    software they were going to give away?  Not a company selling the
    packaging/support of someone else's work, or selling hardware, who
    gave away the software they wrote along the way.  A company that wanted
    to sell a piece of software and was going to make it "free".

First, let me say that some of the most venerable proprietary software
was based on some package that existed in some prior form.  Second, let
me say that Guile was born because we found a company that wanted to pay
us to build a freely redistributable applet interpreter that could be
used for net gaming and commerce.

Guile was based on the scm scheme interpreter and Tcl/Tk, but really it
was a very strong case of Cygnus being paid a reasonable sum of money to
create something new and free.  I believe that building an internet
applet execution platform based on free technology fits the criterion of
what you are looking for (whereas adding features or ports to GNU tools
does not).

Guile was not commercially successful because it got underway about the
same time that Java was released, and that supernova really stole the
show.  Furthermore, rms weighed in very heavily on the idea that all
internet applications should be written in Guile source code, that
Tcl/Tk and perl programs should be translated to Guile, and that Guile
should not support bytecodes that exist to obscure source code.  This
position was so extreme that it undermined what little community we did
develop around Guile.