[I18n-sig] Codec licenses

Andy Robinson andy@reportlab.com
Fri, 26 Jan 2001 23:19:12 -0000

> I could be talked into changing the license if some project that I
> support would want to use it, and couldn't because of the 
> GPL (e.g. if
> it was candidate for inclusion into Python). I won't change in
> advance.

This dicussion has surprised me considerably.  Python has always had
a non-restrictive licence, as do almost all the packages available
for it, and that is one reason why it is successful.
If we want to create an "official" Python codec package, we should
be prepared to do it under a Python-style license.

My own company (www.reportlab.com) makes free and unrestricted 
reporting libraries, but we are preparing commercial products 
which will sit on top of those.  We need to start selling these 
products for high prices per server license in order to stay alive 
and keep coding and keep contributing to open source. One feature
we will need within six months is encoding conversions.

We would not be able to use any GPL'ed code.  So, if we get a 
customer for Report Markup Language in Japan and we need 
to do encoding conversions, we will be forced to write a clean 
implementation.  And I promise that we'll release it to the world 
under a Python compatible licence, as we have no interest in trying
to sell such a general-purpose utility.  

Furthermore, I have done a lot of consulting projects for big
corporate customers where we solved problems by integrating open
source code.  They don't want to take any GPL'ed code, as the
cost of ripping it out in future if they ever do want to sell
some software would be huge. The Python license has never
caused a question.

It's always the author's choice, but if you prevent any software 
house from developing commercial packages which use your code, 
you limit its exposure and acceptance.

Just my 2p worth,

Andy Robinson