Subject: Re: [Frank da Cruz : Re: Kermit and NetBSD]
To: Frank da Cruz <>
From: None <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 11/26/1999 12:47:46
In message <>, Frank da Cruz wri
>An admirable goal!  But maybe there is a difference between a base operating
>system and all its applications, in terms of what rules apply to them.  Kind
>of like, the base OS is "infrastructure", and therefore (in this view) a
>basic right or entitlement, whereas some apps are "gravy".

Indeed.  At which point, those apps should be separate, probably, from
the system.  On the other hand, I personally would love to see a kermit
package in pkgsrc.

>I have always liked the idea of a free Unix complete with networking (as an
>antidote to what's happening in the mass market), and thanks to the selfless
>labor of so many, we have NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Linux, and the rest.
>But does the fact that these free Unixes exist mean that the public has a
>right to them?


The fact that it is the desire of the authors of NetBSD that the system be
available to everyone for any use, gives the public a right to the system.

Note that I mean no slight to a different licensing scheme; if Kermit's
project goals are best served by your current licensing, then you have every
right to use that licensing.

>I don't think anybody has the right to expect other people
>to work for them for free.  They are a gift freely given; if everybody
>involved in these projects disappeared tomorrow, nobody would have a right
>to complain.  And for this reason I believe that companies that base their
>commercial for-profit products on free software are short-sighted; it is
>in their best interest to care for and feed those who do this work for them,
>lest they disappear.

In fact, what most of those companies do is contribute at least *some* code
back.  Maybe not all of their code... But the TiVO people are using Linux,
and they've made the source to much of their work available.  I'm not sure if
it's all, but I don't expect them to make it *all* available - but you'll
notice that they're making it a *lot* easier for a competitor to come along
and compete.

>Some other Unix distributions handle this situation in some way.  It's a
>question of priorities.  Is it more important to provide end users with the
>fullest and most useful collection of applications than it is to protect
>entrepreneurs from the inconvenience of checking licenses?

Well, consider this:  As of yet, *perl* is not in the basic distribution,
nor will it be any time soon.  It's a package.  You can *add* the package,
but it's not "part of the system".

>Remember that as
>far as C-Kermit is concerned, end-users, commercial or otherwise, are
>automatically licensed for their own (or their company's) internal use.

This would make it an excellent package, although I'm not sure the package
system has the idea of "commercial use okay, not for resale".

>I'm not trying to discuss this to death -- I want to home in on a mutually
>acceptible approach, perhaps even a modification to the license to the
>effect of "...may not be redistributed without permission, blah blah, EXCEPT
>when included as part of a free operating system package" (obviously not
>nearly precise enough, but that would be the idea).  All further suggestions
>gratefully accepted.

I personally would love to see that.  I have fond memories of the shocked
looks on the faces of some coworkers when I demonstrated that if you actually
set some options on kermit, performance went up by a factor of 10 or so.

They were doing international calls over a 2400 baud line, and they didn't
know about packet length or anything.  It was awful.

Anyway, I would think that a license permitting distribution of Kermit along
with "open source operating systems" would probably be good enough.
Disclaimer:  I'm not actually affiliated with the NetBSD foundation in any
way, my sole connection here is that I'm a user.  (In fact, in so far as I
have any affiliation, I suppose it's probably that I'm tech support for

[*]  Who have, on some occasions, made code available to the *BSD's.