Subject: Re: EROS license
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 26 Jun 1999 11:52:29 -0400

   Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 11:34:04 -0400

   DJ Delorie is not quite correct.  The EROS license permits free use,
   modification, and redistribution by anyone, provided that they make source
   available by the usual means of free software (or at least, this is the intent,
   and if the wording doesn't do this I'll gladly repair it).

   In exchange, I retain the right to make proprietary distributions, and to allow
   others to do so.  These proprietary distributions may contain both the original

I don't see the essential difference between what you are saying and
what DJ said.

   It is our intention to continue distributing things in source form under this
   license.  To the extent that we do this, an open source version will continue to
   be available.  If we stop, I don't see that it's worse than, say, the Cyclic
   situation, in which someone else will need to pick up the effort or it will die.
   The open source community has already demonstrated that it can keep up with
   commercial players.   If "openness" truly has value to customers, the open
   source approach will win in the market, and the presence of proprietary
   alternatives will not matter.

I think the issue is not so much that, as that the work which people
do for EROS as a community contribution may be taken proprietary by
you.  You have a dual use license, and I believe that dual use
licenses attract fewer contributions.  However, others disagree.

   I also am inclined to permit binary-only distribution during beta/testing
   phases, provided that this is time limited.  Companies like Cygnus has done this
   on several occasions (e.g. where there is an NDA on the hardware instruction
   set).  This seems to me to be a violation of the letter of the GPL, but I think
   that it's a good thing.  We certainly don't want terms that delay the beginning
   of a new compiler until the day the chip releases, when everyone else is already
   shipping theirs.

(The real reason I am replying).  Cygnus does not do this, and it
never will.  Cygnus never makes binary only distributions of GNU code.
As you say, it's a clear violation of the GPL.  What Cygnus does is
agree to not distribute the sources or binaries themselves.  However,
Cygnus always provides both the sources and the binaries to the
customer, and the customer is always free to do whatever they like
with them under the GPL.  Of course in this situation the customer is
not likely to distribute either the sources or the binaries, but
Cygnus is not imposing any restriction, and Cygnus is not making a
binary-only distribution.