Subject: Re: Free Software vs. Open Source
From: "Brian J. Fox" <bfox@ua.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 08:19:18 -0800


   From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
   Date: 18 Feb 2002 22:30:29 +0900

   Hm.  Actually, come to think of it there are a few examples.

   1.  GNU readline (IIRC, this was originally part of bash).  AFAICT
       people just ignore it, or complain about its license and then
       ignore it, if they're not GPL already.

An informational aside -- I wrote readline *as a library* to link with
Bash (which I was about to release) on a weekend in 1987.  A year or
two later, I added Chet Ramey's vi commands to it, and it basically
hasn't changed since.

I wrote it as a library because I knew that this was a generic need; I
almost immediately linked it into GDB to prove its usefulness as a
library for existing applications to replace gets().

Interestingly enough, I've met people who have spent weeks
implementing wrappers for the readline library so that they could call
it from their proprietery applications.  I'm always fascinated -- why
didn't they just reimplement the functionality that they needed?

Finally, I've seen readline utilized in many a proprietery system with
complete disregard for the license terms -- from Intel's NetStructure
e-Commerce Accelerator, to random network printers -- developers seem
to use readline because its quick and easy, and then fail to mention
the license issues to the business people.

Brian
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