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Re: [fluid-dev] Another application using FluidSynth announced

From: Element Green
Subject: Re: [fluid-dev] Another application using FluidSynth announced
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:13:07 -0700

Hello FluidSynth list,

Just wanted to chime in here, since I have been rather silent on the
subject.  I have already discussed my own position with David and
Pedro, but it seems like a good moment to let the rest of the
community know it as well, seeing as how my name was mentioned.

My current priorities in life have changed and I don't foresee myself
working on FluidSynth anymore.  I'm glad that development has
continued, despite my absence, and its thanks to David, Pedro and the
many other contributors that this project has continued in an evolving
state.  I hope it continues in the same spirit.

I understand that licensing is an important issue, but I think it
sometimes causes quite a lot of complications and wasted effort.
Speaking for myself, I always intended my own contributions to
FluidSynth to be usable in a free spirited fashion.  I realize now
that I have much less attachment to my own contributions than
previously.  For this reason I wouldn't even mind if FluidSynth became
BSD licensed, if it would help FluidSynth to continue to flourish as
it has.

Getting back to the specifics of this discussion around Apple and
their policies.  I am in total agreement that their practices are
predatory and counter to the free software spirit that we all have
been inspired to be a part of.  I also have an understanding of what
is a worthy fight and what is not.  This to me seems like a larger
issue with the LGPL and Apple.  I feel that making an example of Apple
from the stance of the FluidSynth project is a wasted effort and could
very well negatively impact this project.  If anyone was to take up
arms for such a cause, it should be a larger coordinated effort in
order to be effective.

My proposal is to BCC an email letter to all prominent developers
which looks like the following:


Dear FluidSynth contributor,

You are receiving this email on behalf of the FluidSynth development
team in regards to your contribution to the FluidSynth project.  The
subject of allowing FluidSynth to be used on platforms such as the
iPad, iPhone and other static compiled embedded environments has come
up many times on the fluid-dev mailing list.  We would appreciate your
feedback specifically in regards to your contribution.  The aggregate
results of responses will help us to better decide on a course of
action concerning this issue.  There currently exist at least one app
for these platforms that utilize FluidSynth.  Our intention is to
provide an exception to the LGPL or perhaps re-license the project
under something even less restrictive, such as the BSD or MIT license
to help clarify to the community at large the project's standpoint on
such usage.

We would appreciate your reply in answer to the following (please mark
with an X):
[ ] Are you willing to release copyright ownership of your contributed
work?  Simplifying FluidSynth's copyright would provide more
flexibility in the future concerning licensing decisions.

Which of the following FluidSynth licenses would be acceptable to you,
if you are not willing to release your own ownership or which would
you prefer if you are willing? (Check one or more)
[ ] BSD
[ ] Apache
[ ] LGPL with an exception for static linking in embedded environments

[ ] Do we have your permission to publicly post your response on a
Wiki (your email address will not be posted).

Extra comments:

Thank you for your reply.  Feel free to contribute to the discussion
on the fluid-dev mailing list:

Best regards,
The FluidSynth development team


I would appreciate any feedback on this course of action.  It would at
least provide some information which can be utilized in making a
decision.  If it turns out most contributors are willing to release
their copyright ownership (something which is rather loosely tracked
with FluidSynth anyways), it would probably make sense to make the
copyright under a single person or small group of people.  This would
help with future licensing decisions, should they arise.

Best regards,
Element Green (AKA Josh Green)

On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 2:00 PM, Ebrahim Mayat <address@hidden> wrote:
> On Sep 13, 2011, at 3:58 AM, David Henningsson wrote:
>> There are two dimensions here. First, there is the issue of whether we can
>> take action against App Store, and that depends on how we interpret the
>> LGPL, and second, whether we actually proceed with taking that action, which
>> depends on our spirit, soul, moral, and all that.
>> For the first dimension, it is not obvious to me whether we can or not,
>> but it seems likely, especially if we, as you say, "bend a little or force
>> the letter". So the precondition for taking the app down seems to me to be
>> fulfilled.
>> You're right in that many of us dislike Apple's attempts to lock the
>> platform (myself included), and that it is important not to let that cloud
>> our judgements when we need to decide what's best for the project. But
>> regardless of what we think of Apple, and if bringing that app down means
>> harm or good to the project, it just takes one of all copyright holders to
>> raise a complaint to bring the app down. That includes all copyright holders
>> in the past which we know nothing about.
>> This actually comes down to another question. Does the project need to
>> protect itself from that scenario? If so, we need to relicense FluidSynth, e
>> g under BSD or under GPL with Classpath exception. That is done by asking
>> the contributors we can get hold of to relicense, and rewriting the code for
>> people that refuse or that we can't get in contact with.
>> So which is worse? Relicensing and rewriting parts of FluidSynth, or
>> denying FluidSynth for iPhone/iPad users?
>> If you ask me, I will personally not commit to doing the job of contacting
>> copyright holders and ripping out code that does not fulfil the new decided
>> license. I will, however, prefer to relicense my own contributions if the
>> option is to have my own code ripped out.
> David
> Are we moving on to a new topic here ? Specifically, there are people on
> this list who want to submit FS to the Apple App Store ?
> "Ripping out code" ? ? That is a drastic compromise in my opinion.
> If so, I think it would be only fair to contact the previous project leads
> Peter Hanappe (the original inventor) and Josh Green (whom many on the list
> already "know" for his significant contributions) for their opinions. I can
> do so when needed.
> Ebrahim
> _______________________________________________
> fluid-dev mailing list
> address@hidden
> https://lists.nongnu.org/mailman/listinfo/fluid-dev

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