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Relicensing OCaml
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Date: 2008-01-30 (18:23)
From: Edgar Friendly <thelema314@g...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Relicensing OCaml
Jon Harrop wrote:
> I just ploughed through the CAML Consortium legal document to find out what a 
> consortium member can do and was quite surprised to find (p. 13) that they 
> are able to redistribute under any license of their choosing.
> So any of the Consortium members can simply republish the core OCaml 
> distribution under LGPL, BSD or whatever and then we can get on with 
> improving it and not having to worry about patches and backward 
> compatibility... :-)

I recall reading a discussion where Xavier(?) admitted that yes, a
consortium member *could* do this, but their membership in the
consortium would expire after a year and they would not get the chance
to renew.

Imagine a future where INRIA releases nothing further OCaml-related and
drops all support for it.  The community *might* continue OCaml's
existence.  We'll increase the size and scope of the stdlib without
problem.  We'll include simple changes to the compiler like try..finally
syntax.  We'll give the toplevel line-editing capabilities.

But will the community implement dynamic loading of native code?  How
long will it take the community to build an ARM port? Ask yourself where
99% of the knowledge of OCaml's internals lies.  Ask yourself who can
best find and fix corner-case bugs in the type system.

INRIA has to maintain copyright on something whole and usable to keep
the Consortium going.  If Community-OCaml changes the compiler or
stdlib, Consortium members won't have the same rights to those
improvements as they do to INRIA's code.  The easy solution seems to be
giving copyright of contributed code to INRIA so they stay in complete
control over the compiler.  Even if people would do this, INRIA seems
unwilling to test French copyright law on this matter, so we're stuck there.

I know that Xavier has "given an inch" in at least verbally allowing a
Community distribution of OCaml that can include additional libraries
and camlp4 filters.  Please don't try to "take a mile" and insist that
everything get opened up to community development right now.  Let's get
Community-OCaml up and running and see where things go after a release
or two of that.