Mandrake and the commercial license

Guillaume Ponce contact at
Wed Dec 18 09:27:39 UTC 2002

> It's wrong to say that they are reducing freedom.

And it's wrong to say that I said that they (Mandrake) are reducing
freedom.  They don't as one of their release is GPLed.  And they won't
as long as both free and proprietary releases will be technically the

But they open a way for proprietary vendors to make proprietary
versions.  Those vendors would reduce freedom, not Mandrake.

And it's not a matter of `are Mandrake good or evil people' or `did
they prove their loyalty to the free software movement'.  It's a
matter of `do they try to achieve their goal (selling service) the
right way'.

There are lots of `good people' who have just been wrong at least once
in their life....

> If you make a change you are not obliged to dual license it.

> MandrakeSoft will simply not be entitled to use your modification in
> their non-GPL license.

And they probably won't use it in the GPL version, so that the two
releases keep being technically the same.  But that is not a problem
as you can release by yourself your GPL-only modifications.

It may be unlikely to happen, but it could be a dangerous game for
Mandrake.  They could lose contributions from free software developers
that are not willing to dual license their work, and they could lose
contributions from proprietary vendors... because it is proprietary.

A superior version of their software could be developped but they
could not benefit from it, because it would break their strategy (the
two versions being technically the same), or because they would not
have the right to do so (proprietary copyright infringement).  If this
superior version is free, it's fine for the community.  But if it is
proprietary, it's a pity.

Guillaume Ponce

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