Subject: Exploring the limits of Brian's understanding
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 18:44:02 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Brian" == Brian Bartholomew <> writes:

    Brian> If I understand Cygnus' product offerings correctly, they
    Brian> do the following, which is considered by many (most?) 
    Brian> people to be free software:

Brian, besides the commercial idiocy of many of the policies you
propose, you are missing a very important point.  

It isn't companies that are free, it is software that is free.

If Bill Gates releases the following 5-line PHLBBTHT.BAT file:

REM PHLBBTHT.BAT  Copyright 1999 William Whatever Gates
REM This is free software.  You may run, copy, modify, and distribute it.
REM See the file COPYING for your rights under the GNU Public License.
ECHO "PHLBBTHT.BAT  Copyright 1999 W W Gates:  see COPYING for your rights."
ECHO "Dear Brian:  I too am a free software author.  Yours, Bill Gates."

under the GPL, the program produces valid output when executed under
COMMAND.COM and some other shells[1], and expresses an important
philosophical truth.

If he makes it an official Microsoft Product, it is still free
software, even if he doesn't assign the copyright to the FSF or allow
users to copy the Microsoft logo; and Microsoft would then be the
biggest developer in the world that distributes free software (note
the phrasing carefully).

If Cygnus continues producing free software at its current rate
forever, it would still be one of the most productive developers of
free software even if they sell out to Microsoft itself for hundreds
of millions of dollars per employee.

[1]  Subject to my lack of .BAT programming skills, and possibly
errors in implementing the GPL.  At least I got the banner!

University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences       Tel/fax: +81 (298) 53-5091
What are those two straight lines for?  "Free software rules."