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Date:      Thu, 09 Sep 1999 04:30:07 -0600
From:      Brett Glass <brett@lariat.org>
To:        "David Schwartz" <davids@webmaster.com>, "Bill Swingle" <unfurl@dub.net>
Cc:        "Jordan K. Hubbard" <jkh@zippy.cdrom.com>, <freebsd-chat@FreeBSD.ORG>
Subject:   RE: Market share and platform support
Message-ID:  <4.2.0.58.19990909040714.04743890@localhost>
In-Reply-To: <000001befaaa$e6b4b760$021d85d1@youwant.to>
References:  <4.2.0.58.19990909032923.045a1da0@localhost>

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At 03:05 AM 9/9/99 -0700, David Schwartz wrote:

>         Well, so long as they've released all his previous work under the BSD
>license, they can only keep for themself future work. In other words, they
>can stop contributing at any time. *yawn*

True. Or they can stop allowing contributions made by, say, Jordan and Bill
to be used by the publishers of other distributions.

Of more serious concern is the fact that files which Walnut Creek
employees contribute say something like

(C) 19xx Jordan K. Hubbard

etc. at the top. Walnut Creek could say that the "contribution" made by this
license is invalid because Jordan never owned the copyright on the code to
begin with and therefore had no legal right to put his name at the top. 

>         Yes, the FreeBSD team could stop developing new versions of FreeBSD at any
>time. Linus Torvalds could die tomorrow, and perhaps there would be nobody
>around to continue his work. Who knows?

There would be people to take over for Torvalds. As for the FreeBSD team:
I have no idea how much knowledge is held by only one person, or how many
unpublished tools, if any, are used to build distributions. HOPEFULLY
it would be possible to continue development.

>         The temporal continuity of both Linux's and FreeBSD's development is
>predicated upon numerous conditions that we can't predict. One should not
>assume that anything will continue to tomorrow.
>
>         But I really don't see what you think WC can do to hurt FreeBSD. Whatever
>they did, what would stop all those people who felt it was bad from
>continuing the development of FreeBSD in some other direction on their own?
>In other words, what more could they do than stop helping?

Let's suppose, just for the sake of argument, that some key files in the FreeBSD
distributions -- just a few -- began to require a license from Walnut Creek
if they were included on a disk that was sold for money. 

Suddenly, Cheap Bytes couldn't make FreeBSD CD-ROMs without doing clean room 
reverse engineering of those files or obtaining a license from
Walnut Creek, which it might not grant. Ditto anyone else who wanted to
sell copies of FreeBSD. Walnut Creek could pick and choose who got to do
a distribution easily. I'd hope that Jordan and others would rebel
against such a thing. But what if they decided that some publisher was 
evangelizing in a way they didn't like? They might chose to ace out just
that one -- "spiking the gun," so to speak.

--Brett Glass



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