Subject: Re: Studies
From: (Adam J. Richter)
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 97 11:19 PST

Russ Nelson writes:
>With some examination of the FPL, you can see that it imposes no
>restrictions over the GPL on people who are writing gratis software.

It makes it illegal to write derivative gratis software that you want
others to be able to distribute for profit.  For example, if I want
to incorporate a printer driver from Alladin Ghostscript into an
image manipulation program that I make available for anonymous FTP,
I am prohibited from allowing that software also to be included on
CDROM's that are sold for profit, greatly reducing the distribution
that the software will receive.

It is instructive to remember that the purpose for the development of
the FPL was not direct public benefit, but rather so that Alladin could
charge for some of the rights granted by the GPL but not the FPL.

In fairness to Aladdin, I should mention that, as I understand it,
FPL'ed versions of Aladdin Ghostscript revert to the GPL after a
specific amount of time (I forget when exactly), and that conversion
is a tremendous contribution to the Libre software pool.

Also, since I regard doing nothing all day as not inherently harmful,
and writing proprietary software as better than doing nothing all day,
and writing less restricted proprietary software as better than writing
more restricted proprietary software, I do regard Aladdin's activities
beyond their production of GPL'ed software as positive.

Adam J. Richter     __     ______________   4880 Stevens Creek Blvd, Suite 205     \ /                  San Jose, California 95129-1034
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