David Given wrote:
> Saying it's simply arrogance and selfishness is an
I agree. As an example, I recently needed to add an AVL tree to an
embedded telephony product. I looked at GNU libavl first. It did just
what I wanted, but the viral GPL licensing would have required that we
open source our proprietary embedded software.
Please note that our modifications to the library were only to adapt it
at the integration level to our product. We did not make any
algorithmic or feature changes that would be of any interest to other
AVL tree users.
But since GNU libavl was released under the GPL, we had to keep
looking. I ended up using the libdict library, which also provided the
necessary AVL tree support, but under a BSD style license. So we could
adapt the source in ways that were useful to us but of no interest to
any other libdict users.
I don't think this approach violates the spirit of open source. And we
were happy to adhere to the letter of the BSD license and include
Farooq Mela's (the libdict author's) copyright notice. We respect and
appreciate his contribution.
I remember when Linux really got going in the mid-90's. There was a
lot of debate regarding the responsibilities of commercial vendors to
contribute source. Some did, some didn't. The LGPL and implementation
of drivers as loadable modules provided an escape for driver writers
who didn't need to make changes to the kernel proper. Some approved of
that exception, some didn't.
I remember that a *lot* of commercial ventures sprung up, with
substantial financial backing, to exploit Linux. Most have faded away,
but some still remain. IBM's commitment was questioned, but they have
continued to heavily promote Linux. Linux benefitted enormously,
without any capital investment by the open source community in
marketing. Everybody won.
The point is that commercial interest with regard to open source is not
by definition bad. It was a real help getting Linux out from under the
desk and into the server room, and into embedded devices. And now,
there are hundreds of manufacturers (who have to turn a profit every
quarter and pay their Linux software engineers) who have embraced
Linux. Other companies have been formed based on a business model
centered on catering to the embedded Linux market.
If you want Minix 3 to become a broad success, then I think it is valid
to wish for substantial commercial interest and success exploiting it
in creative ways that add value.
BTW, my interest in Minix 3 is technical, not commercial. My perhaps
unfortunate pattern of behavior is to remain head-down banging out code
for the joy of it, while the other guy gets rich.