Subject: Re: Studies
From: "L. Peter Deutsch" <ghost@aladdin.com>
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 97 16:31 PST

> I think licences like the kermit, tkman and nvi licences, which prohibit
> sale of the software while otherwise allowing free distribution, is to
> enormously reduce use as soon as alternatives are available.  tkman is far
> better than GNU man; kermit is far better than minicom; I don't know
> whether nvi is far better than vim, but I imagine so.  But many more
> people use GNU man than tkman, simply because their distributors were able
> to install GNU man legally.

Do these licenses provide a commercial licensing option, or do they simply
prohibit sale?

Do you -- or does anyone reading this discussion -- know of licenses other
than the AFPL which combine gratis non-commercial distribution with
commercial licensing, like the AFPL?

The question implicit in your comments -- how great an effect the
distributor's choice has on what people run -- is an interesting one.
Distributors who insist on libre software, rather than merely gratis, will
have an effect on mind-share by virtue of making libre software more visible
to users than its (possibly superior) gratis but less-libre alternatives.
While this may hurt users in the short term, it helps promote libre software
and thereby presumably benefits users in the long term.

As far as I know (echoing Adam Richter's earlier comment), all Linux vendors
distribute GNU Ghostscript, but it's my impression that most other Unix
sites (and most non-Unix users) download and install Aladdin Ghostscript,
and that Linux users who become aware of the existence of Aladdin
Ghostscript often do so as well.  (I don't know how to get real numbers
about this: I'm basing this on the Ghostscript version numbers in problem
reports I get from the Net.)

-- 

L. Peter Deutsch         |       Aladdin Enterprises :::: ghost@aladdin.com
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