Subject: Re: Studies
From: Bernard Lang <Bernard.Lang@inria.fr>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 1997 09:54:37 +0100 (MET)

>         By the way, I also think that this mailing list is for
> discussions of these free software dynamics.  If you think more
> restricted software shares these dynamics, I think that sort of
> discussion should be within the scope of this list, if you just want
> to talk about how its more profitable in the short term to sell
> proprietary software with promotional copyrights, that should be
> outside the scope of this list.

  My personnal view is that free software is, for technical and
sociological reasons, the only effective way to develop good software.
(I detail a bit this idea in a forthcoming paper, still in French,
sorry again, but which will be translated into English).
  However, as there is room for industrial development in applied
math, there is also for commercial software (obviously :-).

  It seems very relevant for this list to examine all the ways free
software can interact with business:
   - reinforcement of business development by the existence of free
software,
   - reinforcement of free software development or acceptance by
increased business use,
   - competition between free software and commercial software

   Though I cannot consider KDE as really free software because of its
reliance on Qt, it is still interesting and useful since it provides
at least temporarily a component that makes free OS more acceptable to
corporate environments.
   Similarly, if some people, like Aladdin's jinn, contribute by
making software partially free, while preserving their means of
earning a living as they see fit, without keeping strings that could
get free users stuck, all I can say is that it still benefits largely
free software and that I am grateful.

   After all, the wish for software to be totally free is to allow
people to do business with it (that is a major idea behind the LGPL).
So one can hardly dismiss intermediate positions like FPL.
  But I am wary of licences, like Qt's, that can turn into a noose.

Bernard Lang

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