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Re: [Reuben Thomas] browse-url.el Opera support

From: Simon Josefsson
Subject: Re: [Reuben Thomas] browse-url.el Opera support
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 07:32:36 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.110002 (No Gnus v0.2) Emacs/21.3.50 (gnu/linux)

Let me add another more down-to-earth argument: if free software
support non-free tools, like Opera in browse-url.el in this example,
it becomes the free software people's work to make it work.  The emacs
maintainers have to apply the patches, document it, change the code
whenever the tool changes its API, etc.  This takes time, aka money.
It is not clear why Emacs maintainers should donate time to people
that don't give anything back.  In some cases Emacs maintainers can do
so when it is easy to do, and makes the users considerably happier.
This seem to be the case for browse-url.el: as far as I recall,
Netscape wasn't free software initially, but browse-url support it.

If Opera Inc. were to donate money for support in browse-el.el, I
would reconsider the situation, and might allow the modification.  But
I'm not sure the Emacs maintainers would.  In that situation it may be
a good opportunity to push Opera Inc. into using a free license on
their software, instead of donating money.  Unless the corporation's
is mainly interested in pursuing non-free software for its own sake,
it may make economical sense for them to re-license their software,
instead of donating money to free software projects for adding Opera
support.  Especially if the sum of money would be large.  A relicensed
Opera would be better for the free software community, instead of the
Emacs maintainers accepting money for making a certain modification.
So it might actually be better, in the long-term, to even refuse
donations in exchange for certain modifications.

Regarding your modified browse-url.el:

It is very difficult to evaluate your work when you send the entire
file, instead of a patch (use 'diff -u').  In any case, I don't think
anyone has requested removing support for already supported non-free
tools, like Netscape.  Also, changing the type of existing variables,
like browse-url-generic-args, may break backwards compatibility, which
I think is a no-no for that kind of variable.

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