Nelson Minar nelson at
Wed Apr 1 07:22:23 PST 1998

You know, my first response to Bertrand's nasty message was just "who
the fuck are *you*"? But I feel like actually writing a response.

Bertrand Guiheneuf <Bertrand.Guiheneuf at>
>I felt like abused when Transvirtual announced, after 2 years of
>freeware developpement, that kaffe would stop to be a freeware.

"Abused"? That's an awfully strong word. Unless you contributed lots
of code to Kaffe I don't see how you have a right to feel anything
other than grateful for the first 2 years of incredibly generous

>What if Linus Torvald decided to stop distribute Linux freely? 

Then the current version of Linux would be the last free release that
Linus would work on. If you're so worried about the new Kaffe terms,
then go take Kaffe 0.9.2 and start working on your own derivative version.

>Changing a license "on the fly" is the best way to make sure of a
>wide-spread diffusion of a software. But it's not fair.

Do you have any reason to believe that the Kaffe folks deliberately
did this? I certainly don't. Kaffe seems to me to be a neat program
someone wrote at first for love, and very kindly gave it out and then
started spending a lot of spare time developing, debugging, releasing.
Believe me, that's a lot of work. Now, a couple of years later there's
a real need for an alternative VM and so Tim and crew have come up
with a plan to continue developing Kaffe more professionally, maybe
fund its development a bit. And they're still giving it away! How can
you possibly blame him for that?

And we haven't even begun to discuss the reasons why they switched
from the BSD style license. Tim has been too polite to disclose
details, but it sounds a lot like someone took their work and put it
into a commercial product and contributed nothing to the community.
Save your "hurt" for the leeches, not the folks who've put 2 years of
sweat into a product that ungrateful people can use.

>There is nothing more to argue.

No, but you could send an apology. This isn't just a matter of
abstract principle. Software of any kind, especially free software, is
a labour of love. This sort of carping from the wings is demoralizing
to the authors and is entirely inappropriate. If you're not going to
contribute money or code to a project, the least you can do is not be
rude to the person who is giving you the software.

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