Subject: Re: [Fwd: Why Microsoft Shouldn't Spurn Open-Source Code]
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Sun, 06 May 2001 11:30:52 -0700

Please be careful in the attributions.  I didn't write that.  I just
forwarded Jonathan Hill's comments so that people would see the
discussion.  Please don't spread the idea that I am the source of these

Craig Brozefsky wrote:
> "Tim O'Reilly" <> 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                             <>
> In the rich man's house there is nowhere to spit but in his face
>                                                      -- Diogenes

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