[Mono-devel-list] ByteFX development

Reggie Burnett rykr at comcast.net
Mon Oct 4 08:04:24 EDT 2004

Miguel de Icaza wrote:

>>None of this changes the fact that this is only an issue for someone who
>>wants to write a proprietary app without paying the associated licensing
>>fees.  It's my understanding that the exception allows you to write
>>almost any kind of open source app you want while using the GPL
>>connector.  It's only when you are building a proprietary app that the
>>license fee comes in.  With very few exceptions, people who write
>>closed-source proprietary apps are either currently selling or planning
>>to sell their software.
>>Allowing someone to write proprietary apps using your code without
>>charging them a fee is an excellent technique to increase the ubiquity
>>of your code (that's why I chose LGPL for ByteFX), however this is
>>possible only if the contributors all have day jobs or you eventually
>>sell other products or services for a fee.
>This is fine, but Linux and most of the development stack today is
>licensed in a way that allows for commercial developers to create
>applications without having to license or pay royalties to a third
>Depending on where you are standing: pure free software to practicality
>there are different arguments about why and when to use the more
>liberal licensing that allows developers to build commercial applications.
>With Mono, I chose a licensing system that would maximize adoption as
>opposed to one that would maximize profits, since we believe that
>bringing the ECMA CLI is strategically important for free software.
>Many free software companies have chosen a business model that gives
>the software for free for free software, but it is a pay-for system for
>proprietary developers (Sleepycat, Qt, MySQL).  
>Today there are strong communities that support the `fully free' model:
>Gtk+ for GUI programming and Postgress/Firebird for the databases.  And
>depending who you ask, you will get a different answer.
>But I can see an ISV coming from Windows to the Linux world in the
>future facing problems: if for each piece of functionality they have to
>license a toolkit to develop applications they might as well just stay
>in Windows if the price is right.
>>From the Mono perspective, we will continue to encourage a royalty-free
>development toolkit.  Even if that means that we must replicate code.
I understand completely.  This is in line with my point actually, that 
being that there is very little in terms of licensing problematic here.  
The real reason for the code replication is to provide as much surface 
area as possible free of charge to more directly encourage use of the 
toolkit and encourage development for Linux in general.  

The main idea I was expressing was more platform-neutral and had to do 
with the free software mindset I see happening more and more (it had 
very little to do with the actual replication of the driver).  More and 
more I see developers wanting software to be free unless they are 
selling it, then of course it should cost money.  And they are not 
interested in paying people licensing fees for the components they use.

I think this mindset just leads to slower development as it requires 
people who are willing to give some of their free time to develop the 
code.  Some projects (like Mono) have corporate sponsorship and that 
allows them to proceed faster.  If you look around the .NET community, 
you will see many components (net components, UI components, etc) and 
almost without fail the for-pay components offer more features more 
quickly than the free ones.  This leads to, I think, a much better open 
source interpretation.  I think the whole idea behind open source should 
not be that "all software is free" but that I have the source code to 
fix bugs or better debug if I want.  The license could really be 
anything as long as the source code is also delivered and I have the 
ability to make changes to the source code for use in my own 
enterprise.  In this situation, I have the personal benefit of open 
source while fostering a component community (with my dollars).

Sorry for my rant.  As you can see, it really had very little to do with 
the code.  As to your argument about an ISV just staying in Windows, I 
think this is incorrect.  If the Linux platform has enough users and the 
Mono toolkit is advanced enough (both are true), then the Linux platform 
can easily support applications and components that use a for-pay 
licensing system.  This is assuming, of course, that I expect to sell 
more than a few copies of my application or library.  If this is not the 
case, why not open source?


More information about the Mono-devel-list mailing list