Subject: Re: [was Cygnus] now Ghostscript and Aladdin
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 22 Jun 1999 12:06:24 -0400

   From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
   Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 15:27:54 +0900 (JST)

   I don't think "contributing to the support of the GPL" is what drives
   development for most people; I work on Ghostscript (very little, these
   days) and XEmacs because I live(d) in them.  Actual contribution was
   based on the knowledge that it would be redistributed openly, but I
   don't need GPL to feel warm and fuzzy about that.  There are lots of
   other projects I might want to contribute to; if everyone can read,
   modify, and redistribute the code to all users, I won't worry too much
   about the detailed vehicle the primary author chose as free public

I disagree.  I wouldn't worry about GPL vs. other free licenses.  But
I would worry about GPL vs. Aladdin public license, or, say, GPL
vs. NPL.

My interest in contributing to a project is higher if I am on the same
basis as the author, and lower if the author has special rights to the
code which I do not have.

If I were to contribute to Ghostscript (which is unlikely simply
because I rarely use it) I would be concerned that my patch would be
non-free and effectively hidden for some time.  I could distribute it
separately, of course, but that would be awkward.  You say that Peter
does distribute GPL patches along with the source code, but that too
seems awkward for all concerned.  So the licensing issues would indeed
discourage me from even starting to contribute.

This is not to say that I think that Ghostscript should be under a
different license or that Peter should do anything differently.  That
fact that I am discouraged from contributing is irrelevant since I
wouldn't be contributing anyway.  I'm not even aware that Ghostscript
needs any contributions.  Moreover, there may well be some
contribution mechanism to Ghostscript that I would find completely
satisfactory; I haven't looked into it.

My point is simply that I believe that dual licensing does discourage
contributors, since it discourages me.

Simple code forks, on the other hand, don't discourage me from
contributing.  I simply pick the one I find most congenial, or the one
I think most likely to succeed in the long term.

On a completely separate point related to Ghostscript in only the most
marginal of ways, Jean Camp sent a paper around a few days ago in
formats which I couldn't read (MS Word and PostScript, encoded in, of
all things, binhex).  No doubt I could have eventually extracted some
material from these, but if it takes more than 30 seconds I'm not
going to bother.  Please, people, if you want everybody to read your
texts, send them in some human readable format or put them on the web.