Subject: Re: sendmail licensing again
To: Mason Loring Bliss <email@example.com>
From: John F. Woods <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 12/10/1998 15:00:18
> I'm wondering how much that matters, though. I understand that the ability
> to turn NetBSD into a proprietary system is a desired property for all the
> core stuff, but we've got a lot of stuff that is already GPLed that's pretty
> necessary to the proper functioning of the system.
The bulk of the GPL code is development tools (by weight, anyway ;-). Of
the remainder, you have tools useful for shell scripts (dc, bc, gawk, grep,
sort), archivers (gzip, cpio, tar), groff, uucp, and chess. And, of course,
ld.so, which in a minimalist sense is the only GPLed code that *is*
"necessary" to the proper running of the system.
Leaving aside ld.so, picture devising an Internet floor waxer using a 386
and NetBSD (or an Internet toaster using a Pentium ;-). I *think* mawk
is less restricted; pax will cover for cpio and tar; if you just want
compression, bzip2 is in the regular tree, and if you've just got to gunzip,
libz is in the regular tree, so you could write your own application around
it. If you don't routinely format documents while waxing floors, you can
probably live without groff; I suppose the operator of the floor waxer will
have to bring his own chess set. The lack of UUCP is a problem; rather than
full-time internet connectivity, it might be more convenient to periodically
find a phone jack and UUCP down requests for rooms needing waxing.
However, even a less facetious example of an embedded system would find
ld.so inconvenient; either you do without shared libraries (entailing
disk bloat) or you make sure that everyone who picks up your automated
floor waxer down at Best Buy also receives a 6250BPI magtape containing
the ld sources...
Where sendmail fits in the spectrum of "necessary" isn't entirely clear;
an embedded system might (or might not) want to receive mail, and might
(or might not) easily enough get by with having applications directly
send mail themselves rather than using sendmail as a local SMTP spooler.
But it would sure be handy if "the mail system" met the needs of people
who want to use NetBSD like this.