Subject: Re: EROS license
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 28 Jun 1999 12:28:55 -0400

   From: shapj@us.ibm.com
   Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 10:59:19 -0400

   >I also don't think Larry sees the power in free software.  I believe
   >that if he did, he would not require the program to pass the
   >testsuite.

   One problem is that success as a free software type requires better personal
   marketing skills than success in the proprietary world.

   However, I don't agree with the second point.  I haven't read the requirements
   on BitKeeper, but in principle requiring conformance to a test suite isn't a bad
   thing.  I believe Larry is doing this because he views branding as important.
   His strategy is to brand BitKeeper strongly with his name, and to then ensure
   that all distributions of BitKeeper are stable and robust so that customers will
   know that it works well and pay him to improve it.

   This could be done with a pure GPL license by building brand identity on a
   trademark, but that is a much more expensive approach.  User's don't benefit
   from paying for advertising.

   Provided that there is a means to debunk erroneous tests, placing provisions
   that set a lower hurdle for product quality is a definite benefit to the user.
   The difference between the trademark strategy and what Larry has done is that
   his strategy actively limits the ability of damaged goods to propagate and
   reproduce.

I would have no objection at all to a requirement that the program
could only be called BitKeeper if it passed the testsuite.  That
should satisfy the need for branding.

Based on discussions on the BitKeeper mailing list, I believe that
Larry understands that point.  I believe that he is after something
else, but I don't think that I grasp it well enough to describe it
fairly.

Ian