Re: Objective Caml 2.03/4 released

From: skaller (
Date: Mon Dec 06 1999 - 21:55:33 MET

Date: Tue, 07 Dec 1999 07:55:33 +1100
From: skaller <>
To: Markus Mottl <>
Subject: Re: Objective Caml 2.03/4 released

Markus Mottl wrote:
> > Why was such a grossly restrictive, anti-freedom licence chosen?
> > Or do I mis-understand it?
> Well, some people would think the other way round... ;-)

        Of course: those with jobs working for Universities
of other institutions often forget where THEIR pay packets
come from. So they want to create a pool of software
exclusive to them. This is not freedom.

> > I've been working on a product using ocaml for some time,
> > and I need to make money out of it. The new licence seems
> > to preclude this, forcing me to give away my source.
> I wouldn't say that there is reason for fearing that you cannot distribute
> your sources as binary only:

        I am glad you have this interpretation.
> The runtime system and other things that go into the executable are subject
> to the GNU *Library* General Public License.
> This section might be relevant to you:
> 4. You may copy and distribute the Library (or a portion or
> derivative of it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form
> under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you accompany it
> with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code,

        This includes modifications to the library.

> So if I get it right, the only thing you have to do when shipping your
> binaries is to either ship the sources *of the runtime libraries*, too, or
> to provide an URL to the distribution directory of INRIA so that people can
> always access the sources of the linked in libraries.

        I hope you get it right :-)
> > There was, some time in the past, a discussion
> > about persuading management to switch to ocaml.
> > The new licence is a guarrantee it will NEVER be used
> > for serious software development. No one can afford
> > to develop a production quality software, and then
> > be forced to give the it away.
> If this were true, no commercial company would want to use gcc - and I am
> sure that there are plenty which do.

        Binaries produced by gcc can link dynamically to the
libraries, and so do not contain them.
> Reality also shows that it *is* possible to develop free software in
> production quality (and higher...).

        Yes, when the funding comes from some large organisation.
I'm a small organisation :-)

        When I have enough money coming in to be able to eat,
keep a roof over my head, and pay for computing facilities,
then perhaps I feel more confident giving away sources on the
basis that eventually enough people will want to pay me for support.

> in my eyes the results of public
> research *should* also stay free for the public.

        In my eyes, the people that fund the research own the results:
the public usually. But that is not the same as GPL'd software, which
people adding value hiding the added value.

> I'd say that making money by writing software will sooner or later change
> to making money by providing support and consulting. Even Richard Stallman
> does not object to this - and, as far as I know, makes a living from it...

        I agree that this is desirable. I would like to reach that
position. But until I do, for example, while seeking funding for
further research and development, I'd like the option of preventing
other, better funded, organisations simply stealing my efforts.

John Skaller,
10/1 Toxteth Rd Glebe NSW 2037 Australia
voice: 61-2-9660-0850

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Jan 02 2000 - 11:58:29 MET