Re: Roll your own

Robert S. Thau (
Thu, 22 Jan 1998 13:49:29 -0500 (EST)

Daniel Veillard writes:
> That's would be terrific ! I guess that Microsoft would not appreciate
> that, and that's the only reason I could find why NS could release the code.

Huh? Netscape has been trying to move away from using client software
as a revenue source for some time now anyway, because it is obvious
(to them and everyone else) that there is simply no future in it, with
Microsoft giving an equivalent product away for free. However, they
have an *enormous* interest in keeping Microsoft from gaining an
effective monopoly over browsers in the marketplace. Under the
circumstances, giving the binaries away makes perfect sense.

And once you're doing that, I've never understood the case for *not*
giving away the source as well... the usual rationale is "to keep
control of future development", but so long as the original author
plans to keep development going at a reasonable pace, they're likely
to keep control by sheer inertia. (Exception to probe the rule: the
egcs/gcc 2.8.0 split, where the FSF most certainly did *not* keep
development going at a reasonable pace; hence the split).

> BTW, if you have NS share sell them them if it proves to be true, the
> financial business still didn't have a clue on the free software development
> model ... For them, code out means no more business.

Actually, Netscape's attempt to transition to a servers-and-consulting
business model has been *very* widely reported already, so this may
have less of an impact than you might expect...

BTW, I just noticed another thing which the ZDNet story is less than
completely clear on; it says that they will allow source to be
downloaded, modified and redistributed, but says explicit nothing
about reuse in commercial products. (I am not even remotely tempted
to draw any conclusions from this, other than that the person who drew
up the press release was probably *not* a connoisseur of license-style
flamewars of the type presently raging in gnu.misc.discuss).