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December 10, 1998
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Date: Wed, 09 Dec 1998 18:34:58 -0600 From: "David M. Stoner" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Software Without Shenanigans? A caveat needs to be added to John Martellaro's claim, in a "Mac Opinion" column, following Linus Torvalds, that only open source software can produce "software without shenanigans". Ken Thompson, one of the original creators of Unix, has shown that even complete access to the source code cannot guarantee the absence of shenanigans. See http://www.acm.org/classics/sep95. He demonstrated in some detail that a back door can exist which is completely invisible in the source code. His conclusion: "You can't trust code that you did not totally create yourself." I agree that access to the source code does and should increase our confidence in the system it generates, but it should not be thought that it provides an absolute guarantee of trustworthiness. David Stoner firstname.lastname@example.org
From: "Kenneth Y.K. YOUNG" <email@example.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Eirik's (President of Troll Tech) post to the Harmony List Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 02:22:42 -0500 I haven't read any news item among the Qt hoopla that points out the following: Eirik's (President of TT) unwillingness to guarantee not to sue Harmony involves several very deep opensource issues: (1) He is wrong on one score: Harmony is LGPL'ed, and therefore can never be embraced-and-extended by any Redmond companies. (2) There is a deep problem concerning Qt making money off Harmony patches, and/or loosing revenue due to a competitive opensource clone. (3) If TT one day does decide it is loosing revenue to a opensource clone and sues, who is it suing and how can it sue? I would like to see some concrete answers to these questions. ===================================================== Quoting Eirik, President of Troll Tech, in his post to the Harmony list: >We are not lawyers, we are developers, and we do not want >to sue people. On the other hand I cannot guarantee that we will >never sue the Harmony project. Who knows what will happen >in the future. If e.g. some Redmond based company starts >pumping funding into Harmony to "embrace and extend" >Qt we might consider suing."
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 12:10:05 -0800 (PST) From: James Ramsey <email@example.com> Subject: Misuse of Troll Tech quote To: firstname.lastname@example.org On the front page of LWN you excerpted the following quote from Troll Tech's president: "On the other hand I cannot guarantee that we will never sue the Harmony project." Although you provided a link to the full article, you made it appear as if a suit by Troll Tech of Harmony was a looming threat. The quote was way out of context. The following is a more complete excerpt: "We are not lawyers, we are developers, and we do not want to sue people. On the other hand I cannot guarantee that we will never sue the Harmony project. Who knows what will happen in the future. If e.g. some Redmond based company starts pumping funding into Harmony to "embrace and extend" Qt we might consider suing." Now the "Redmond based company" is obviously an oblique reference to Microsoft, and the likelihood of Harmony's developers accepting money from Microsoft is pretty remote. The implication seems to be that it would be unlikely that Troll Tech would sue, except under unusual circumstances, such as some gross dirty trickery on the part of the Harmony project of the sort mentioned above. It doesn't sound to me like much of a threat at all. ----I am a fool for Christ. Mostly I am a fool.----
Date: 03 Dec 98 13:07:55 -0800 From: (anonymous) To: email@example.com Subject: Comments on TrollTech QT, QPL Dear Editor, As you know, Linux has recently received high praise from press after some heavy weight commercial companies have announced strong support for it. For Linux to thrive and grow and become a household name, support from commercial industry is vital. My main concern of making QT to be a standard toolkit to base all free software is based on its disregard for commercial software industry. If QPL is perceived is an Open Source compatible and if almost all of the free apps are written in QT, then most commercial companies would also like to write their apps using QT so as to create common look and feel and just to keep easier and greater compatibility with the other free apps (like KDE desktop etc). However, this is a dangerous situation. What if sometime in future, some Microsoft buys TrollTech and keeps the QT free license essentially same, but changes commercial license drastically (let us say $50000 per developer per year). Microsoft can further discourage others in using Linux (or even Unix) by making the Windows version of QT essentially free for commercial developer. Further, MS can allow QT at essetially throw away price to commercial companies which agrees to get no less than let us say 70 to 75 % revenue from Windows software. Note, that they would least bit concerned, if developers frustrated by this license, leaves Linux/Unix and starts using Windows. The above scenario, however improbable, is definitely possible. This would also almost kill commercial development of Linux-Unix software and would be very harmful to those companies which invests heavily on QT toolkit and helps it become a commercial standard. Unless the QPL can take care of these concerns, it seems to me that the commercial vendors would be better off using Motif. This will create separation between commercial apps and free apps. I would strongly advise the Linux community to take these concerns into account before stopping their work on Harmony and GNOME projects. In your previous article (http://www.lwn.net/1998/1203/a/jd-harmony.html) Joel Dillon writes, "...if Trolltech were to go bust because of Harmony then companies would see nothing to gain in cooperating with the free software movement...". This is quite unlikely. Even after the Linux has come in the market, we have not seen Sun going bust, neither LessTif, has done harm to Motif, nor Wine has done any harm to MS. Also in the same article Joel Dillon writes, "...at worst, if Trolltech were to be bought out by Microsoft and raised their commercial prices sky-high then some work would be involved in keeping gtk or another toolkit 100% KDE-compatible...." This is simply impossible. What happens to the code already written in QT but becomes incompatible with the the future libraries being distributed. This would mean that either I as a developer renew my QT license or ask my user to keep multiple version of QT lib on their machine. Couple of my own suggestions about QT: * Make QT as a published standard. The free software community strictly adhers to this published standard (once the published standards are there, it would be difficult for TrollTech or any future owner of QT to create any unreasonale distributions (e.g. Java). * Divide QT into QT Free ane QT Pro as two separate products and QT Free to be released under QPL but with the exceptions that the commercial vendors get the same right as the free software developer. This would allow the commercial vendors to remain compatible with the rest of the free software community without getting locked into one company.