Subject: Re: Releasing under OS, what License?
From: DJ Delorie <dj@delorie.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2001 23:55:07 -0400


>     DJ> The GPL is the most effective OS license for preventing unfair
>     DJ> competition.
> 
> Er, don't you mean "for enforcing unfair competition"?

No, I meant what I said.  I suppose it depends on what you consider
fair vs unfair, though.

The GPL puts everyone on the same level wrt the sources - once
released, the author (original or otherwise) has no advantage over
anyone else.  Anyone who wishes to compete starts with the latest
sources, and doesn't have to invest in reinventing the wheel.
Competition is based on what each side can do for the user, not what
they can do for the software.  I consider that "fair" because a given
group's success or failure depends solely on their own efforts and
choices, not on an accident of history.

For example, in the Red Hat case, consider Mandrake.  They based their
work on Red Hat Linux, and didn't have to reinvent it.  Their value to
the user was what they added to Red Hat Linux, not the creation of a
Red Hat Linux clone.

Consider another example, Microsoft.  To compete with Microsoft, you
must first catch up with them.  From my point of view, MS has an
unfair advantage because they compete based on their installation
history, not their current value to their users.  I would consider it
fair if their "history" was a history of ongoing value to the
customer, but when it becomes a history of installed user base
inertia...

> For example, what Red Hat does...

I wasn't talking about Red Hat, I was talking about DJGPP (OEM vs VAR).

Even in the example you give, though, I think competition is fair,
because the choice to use or not use the "Red Hat GCC" (or whatever)
is up to the competition, not up to Red Hat.  Other vendors will make
that decision based upon their own values and situation, and will live
or die by their own choices, not by someone else's.