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Re: lynx-dev Licensing Lynx: Summary

From: Vlad Harchev
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Licensing Lynx: Summary
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 22:03:46 +0500 (SAMST)

On Tue, 5 Oct 1999, Brett Glass wrote:

> Well, I and my fellow developers have reviewed the online responses 
> regarding the possibility of licensing the Lynx code for the past several 
> days, and have come to some conclusions, which are summarized in this 
> message. (I'll draw from several postings to this list in this response.)

  If you really wish to help blind people to browse the Web, you can (IMO)
prove various US departments (that are dedicated to the support of blind
people, etc, various social organizations, associations) that the thing you
will do will be good for blinds, ask for funding, write the code (you can
use any GPLed software without any problems) and release it under GPL. You can
try to find rich blind people and ask them for funding. You can even ask Free
Software Foundation for this (talk to RMS) or some big software companies
(they can be interested in this by some sort of advertisment of their
name allowed). You can ask for funding on various mailing lists dedicated to
problems of blinds. It's not good to make money on the blind people (that 
don't earn too much as you said).

 As a programmer (and lynx contributor - my changes are marked with "VH" in
Changelog) I don't think modifications will require a lof of efforts from your
programmers (I mean regarding modifying lynx itself, not writing speech
syntesizer programs). I think you can hire somebody for $5K (or less) to do
these modifications to lynx. May be I can help you to find such people.

 Another way (that will allow you to make money) is the following (you'll have
to pay for idea :) ):
 You write the general speech synthesizer programming interface, fully 
 document it, and modify lynx to use it (releasing the modifications to lynx 
 under GPL) but sell the synthesizer library (or wrappers to some other library)
 commercially. But you can't avoid competitors if you use this scheme.
> As those who have followed this thread will recall, I and a group of 
> programmer acquaintances, having watched the problems a blind friend had 
> with the Web, seek to produce a Web browser that's truly friendly to the 
> visually impaired. Since it's unrealistic to expect that such a product 
> would earn much money, we expect to earn minimum wage, or perhaps less, for 
> our efforts --- but do need this much income to provide necessary support 
> services such as telephone help. (Clearly, a blind user can't turn to the 
> Internet for help if the browser is not working.)

  You can provide support for any GPLed product (a lot of companies do this, 
  like Linuxcare). Nobody and nothing prevents you from providing support for
  lynx right now.
> Just as others have looked toward published, freely available source code 
> such as the Berkeley TCP/IP stack -- which effectively enabled the Internet 
> -- to avoid reinventing the wheel, we sought to turn to Lynx for some of 
> the code we needed.

 In the remaining part of message you criticize GPL since it doesn't allow you
 to make easy money by taking GPLed codebase. Very funny to hear this.

 Best regards,

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