possible readline license problem with ghc and -package util

Sven Moritz Hallberg pesco@gmx.de
Tue, 11 Jun 2002 23:22:27 +0200

Hash: SHA1

On Tuesday 11. June 2002 21:49, Wolfgang Thaller wrote:
> > I'm being provocative, I know. I'm not trying to insult though, just =
> > encourage a creative discussion.
> Me too. But I've never seen a flame war on any haskell list, so I trust
> that no one will be insulted if we present our differing opinions in a
> strong way. We'll just have to take this discussion elsewhere (where?)
> in case it starts to generate too much noise on this list. This list
> shouldn't become "glasgow-haskell-politics", after all.

I do think this list is the right place, but political discussions tend t=
become pointless once every party has decided never to accept others'=20
opinions. That deadlock state must be avoided.

 --- cut here if you aren't interested in political rants ---
> > :) The question here is, are you (plural) really trying to write Free
> >
> > Software
> > or just giving something away now, which will be closed and hogged
> > later?
> They probably don't want to restrict people's freedom to create non-fre=
> versions. At least that would be my motive.
> My main problem with the GPL is that if my code is placed under GPL, it
> is misused as a political tool

I agree (at least in part), I myself don't particularly like being part i=
political swordsmanship.

> to enforce a rather extreme vision - a
> world _without_ proprietary software. While it is a "valid" viewpoint,
> it's far too extreme for me - I _want_ to write proprietary software.
> Let's suppose that Microsoft decides that it's time to integrate a
> proprietary version of GHC into Visual Studio...

This is the interesting part. Can Microsoft (or whoever!) make money with=
closing future development of GHC? At least they can "integrate" it into=20
Visual Studio or whatever IDE, because there is no need to "integrate". T=
IDE should be decoupled from the compiler. If that's not possible, there'=
s a=20
design flaw in the system.

I want to make my position towards the GPL clear. I don't want GHC to be=20
licensed under GPL. _Personally_ I don't care about licenses, I dislike s=
legalism. But I care about the availability of software. I believe free=20
software improves the world. Put short, I'd like GHC to stay free. I'd li=
the GHC source to remain available, and the developers to remain reachabl=
touchable. Basically I want the GHC development process to work in the op=
same way as it does now. If someone can make that promise to me I will be=

> and suppose that the
> current main GHC developers will work on the non-free version. Is that =
> problem? No. It would generate enough additional interest in Haskell to
> keep up development on the free version.

I would still find it very sad, because I would like everyone to have acc=
to the best GHC possible. That goal will either not be reached, or much=20
effort will be duplicated.

> Let's suppose on the other hand, that the main GHC developers decide to
> release the next version of GHC and its libraries under GPL. That would
> mean that it cannot be used to create proprietary software, or to creat=
> software that doesn't include a political manifesto by RMS. I doubt tha=
> there will be enough talented people available to develop a non-GPLed
> free version of GHC in parallel. It would destroy any hope of widesprea=
> use of Haskell in the "real world".

As stated above, I'd just like a promise that future work on GHC will rem=
free and open.

> > Anybody writing truly Free Software
> > should have no problem with it, while any non-free efforts are left o=
> I feel that Truly Free Software doesn't leave anyone out.

Very well.

> I feel that
> Truly Free Software doesn't force anyone to distribute political
> manifestoes that he/she doesn't necessarily agree with.


> I feel that
> Truly Free Software doesn't impose silly restrictions on static vs
> dynamic linking (as the LGPL does).

Technicalities, right!

>  I believe that Truly Free Software
> shouldn't have a license that could be classified as a (admittedly
> relatively benign) computer virus.

:) Interesting.

> The current license leaves the most freedom to everyone. That includes
> things that some of us would not like to happen - but why give up
> freedom just because some "bad guys" might come along and do something
> that some (not all) "good guys" don't like?

Because the only freedom I'd like sacrificed is that of turning a great f=
GHC into an at least initially great non-free GHC. Right, existing versio=
of GHC will remain free, but they will become outdated. The world will su=
a loss if there is no longer a free top-of-the-line Haskell compiler.

> > I have that fear, and I'd be really happy if someone could
> > relieve me of it.
> And while you're at it, you could relieve me of my fear that the
> official GHC distribution could switch to a GNU license...

I hope to have relieved you of the fear that I want the GHC distribution =
switch to a GNU license. My fear remains.
NB: I personally enjoy source marked as "An ye harm none, do what ye will=

> > I'll admit here (for the sake of honesty) that `grep
> > microsoft ghc/README` adds to the effect.
> It might be scary at first, but it actually has helped improve my
> opinion of Microsoft a lot over the course of the last year :-). After
> all, Microsoft already has made a donation to the free software
> community. I wouldn't have expected that...

What are you refering to?

Sven Moritz
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