possible readline license problem with ghc and -package util

Simon Marlow simonmar@microsoft.com
Wed, 12 Jun 2002 11:03:27 +0100

Well, nothing like a good license debate to wake everyone up ;-)  Anyone
heard of a "bikeshed" discussion before?

Firstly, let me make it clear that GHC won't be switching to the GPL or
even a dual license in the forseeable future.  The University of Glasgow
agreed to the BSD license, and frankly I can't see them agreeing to the
GPL.  And it's been widely publicised that Microsoft won't touch the GPL
with a bargepole; enough said.

Personally, I wouldn't mind dual-licensing GHC, because in a sense that
gives people more freedom: more freedom to choose which licensing terms
they accept the code under.  But I *do* believe that on its own the BSD
license is morally the right choice.  Sure, if the main line of GHC
development moved to a non-free source base, then users would lose out;
but I don't think that it is right to *legislate* against this by
restricting the freedom of programmers.  If the developers, by their own
free will, decide to create a non-free fork, then so be it.  After all,
even the GPL can't force developers to continue working on the code if
they don't want to.

But let me set minds at rest by saying that I'm not aware of any plans,
at Microsoft or otherwise, to create a non-free fork of GHC.

Sven Moritz Hallberg <pesco@gmx.de> writes:
> Put short, I'd like GHC to stay free. I'd like=20
> the GHC source to remain available, and the developers to remain
> touchable. Basically I want the GHC development process to work in the
> same way as it does now. If someone can make that promise to me I will
> satisfied.

Understandably, you'd like continued access to an open source
actively-developed top-of-the-line Haskell compiler.  I don't believe
using a license is the right way to achieve this, though; the best you
can do is find a revenue stream and pay programmers to work on the free
version (c.f. Microsoft :-).