Re: Mr. Dickey's playtime is over

From: Eric S. Raymond <>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 1997 20:52:51 -0400 (EDT)

> 1) Under what license was the predecessor to ncurses released? (pcurses)

I don't know. I've never seen those sources.

> 2) Doesn't the copyright notice by Zeyd Ben-Halim and Eric Raymond grant
> permission to do pretty much anything with the ncurses distribution?

No explicit license removes my Berne Convention right not to have my work
defaced or mutilated to my discredit.

> 3) As long as Thomas Dickey didn't remove the copyright notice from any of
> the header files (which means there could conceivably end up being
> header file with nothing but a copyright notice in them), hasn't he
> abided by the ncurses license as stated by Ben-Halim and Raymond?

See above.

The moral charge against him (as oppsed to the legal one) is that he has
grossly violated the customs ubnder which hackers normally cooperate.

By a strategy of dumb intransigence, he has nearly hypnotized others into
accepting his high-handed acts.

> 4) Why wasn't ncurses re-released under the GPL/LGPL long ago in order to
> make the copyright situation clearer?

Zeyd didn't want it that way. I didn't consider the issue worth pressing,
because I have my own reservations about GPLing libraries.

> 5) Why is ncurses on the GNU distribution sites when it doesn't have a
> GPL? I was completely shocked to not find the GPL in the ncurses
> distribution.

That's a good question, which I hope RMS will answer. I don't quite
understand it myself.

> 6) Why are people so concerned over who owns free software?

I am not particularly concerned over who owns the software in a legal sense.
I am concerned over Mr. Dickey's repeated violation of hacker customs.

He has no right to claim control of a project and issue distributions
when senior maintainers (Zeyd and myself) actively protested both
actions. He had no right to strip me from the maintainers' list
without my consent -- I'm senior to him and one of the copyright
holders, dammit! He had no right to effectively refuse to incorporate
*my* patches to *my* algorithm.

I will *not* have him controlling, or even *claiming* to control, future
distributions. Whatever the merits of his technical patches, he is not a
trustworthy development partner.

		Eric S. Raymond
Received on Sun Jun 01 1997 - 21:09:04 EDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Mon Dec 19 2011 - 06:24:16 EST