Subject: Re: [Fwd: Why Microsoft Shouldn't Spurn Open-Source Code]
From: Craig Brozefsky <craig@red-bean.com>
Date: 06 May 2001 12:46:50 -0500

"Tim O'Reilly" <tim@oreilly.com> writes:

> The problem is that .Net applications may be based on a wide
> variety of programming languages, tools, and libraries. Thus,
> GPL's mandate that "any software that incorporates source
> code already licensed under the GPL will itself become
> subject to the GPL" means that if someone creates a .Net
> application that contains GPL open-source code, all of the
> rest of the application becomes open source, and you can say
> goodbye to competitive advantage and all those MS dollars
> thrown into creating .Net building blocks.

I don't understand this assesment.

I don't see how MS building blocks would lose their advantage here, as
they would never be "forced" into being GPLed by someone else using
GPLed code in an application that also uses them.  The person in
question would not be allowed to distribute their application using
GPLed code that also used proprietary code.  They however could still
use it themselves.

Also, if the inter-component communications method is SOAP/XML, it's
arguable that you could combine GPLed components and non-Free
components across such an RPC mechanism.  I believe that alot of this
has been hashed out in the GNOME discussion lists because of their use
of CORBA.  Linking, the dominant criteria for "dependency" upon GPL
code, and therefor required release of source if publically
distributing binaries, seems to have become out-dated in the .NET
model.

It seems to me that the GPL has more to lose from the direction .NET
is going in, wether it's ultimately .NET that is the dominant
architecture or not.  In this model software components are no longer
tied to being libraries or applications publically distributed.  They
can be code sitting on a server somewhere with a published interface.
These components can even use GPLed code without having to distribute
the entire component, since the GPL distribution clause does not apply
unless the binary is publically distributed.

My understanding is that the next version of the GPL is going to have
some clauses to address this situation.  I fear that it will bring
about a rift in the community tho, since coming up with a useful
clause that doesn't alienate people who are already using GPLed code
in their web application services or SOAP components is going to be
quite difficult.


-- 
Craig Brozefsky                             <craig@red-bean.com>
                                  http://www.red-bean.com/~craig 
In the rich man's house there is nowhere to spit but in his face
					             -- Diogenes