Cygwin license

DJ Delorie
Wed Mar 31 19:45:00 GMT 1999

> Either you are strongly supporting open source and do NOT want anybody
> producing proprietary code based on cygwin and then you should stop
> selling licenses to cygwin that allow that;

You are making an assumption that isn't valid, then using that
assumption to prove the original statment false.

Cygnus strongly supports open source.

That doesn't mean we don't want people producing proprietary code
based on cygwin.

> It seems having cygwin GPLed has only one objective: subvert the open
> source concept by getting people test and enhance a piece of code that
> is in fact proprietary Cygnus software that generates revenues to Cygnus
> by selling licenses to use a GPLed product.

Nothing personal, but this is all wrong.  I understand that the use of
the GPL is easy to misunderstand, but such is life.  Let's see if I
can explain it:

There is a difference between the GPL and the "open source method".  I
think you're thinking of the "bazaar model" of ESR, which is
independent of the GPL.  You can use the bazaar model to produce
non-gpl software (like BSD or Apache).  You can use the cathedral
model to produce GPL software (as Cygnus does for contract customers).

In the case of Cygwin, Cygnus has multiple goals.  First, we use it
internally for running our NT-hosted software, nearly all of which is
GPL anyway (gcc, gdb, etc).  Second, we use it as a source of income
to help fund future development (me and Chris :).  Third, we provide
it to the net community in an effort to promote other groups to adopt
the GPL, and in trade for contributions.

In the latter cases, there is a trade of value.  In the second case,
we trade money for the priviledge of using cygwin in a proprietary
program.  In the third case, we trade development and testing help for
the right to use, modify, and redistribute cygwin according to the
GPL.  Note that in this case, the GPL helps *you*, not us.  The GPL
makes certain guarantees to *you* about your ability to continue using
the software regardless of our desires.  The only thing it does for us
is ensure that no other proprietary program can use that version,
which both promotes the GPL itself and ensures that license sales will
continue to be able to support our development staff.

In no case are we trying to "subvert the open source method".  We
think you are getting fair value for your efforts, and by releasing
the code under the GPL we guarantee that we cannot "subvert" anything,
as the GPL governs distribution after that point.

Neither are we selling licenses to GPL code.  As the authors of the
code, Cygnus has the right to distribute multiple versions under
different licenses (note that this is why we require legal papers
assigning copyright to us before accepting major contributions).  When
we create a distribution for the net, it becomes GPL'd *when* we
release it, not before.  When we create a GNUPro licensed
distribution, it becomes a licensed distribution *when* we sell it,
not before.

I'd also like to point out that cygwin wouldn't exist at all if it
weren't for GNUPro and license sales.  So, if you are benefitting from
cygwin, you should thank those licensed copies for it.

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