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Re: lynx-dev Licensing Lynx: Summary (Repost with a few typos corrected

From: Brett Glass
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Licensing Lynx: Summary (Repost with a few typos corrected)
Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 13:05:38 -0600

At 06:52 PM 10/6/99 +0100, RobertM wrote:

>I'm sorry to rake over old coals, but this has been REALLY bugging me.
>Why can't a blind user, or anyone for that matter turn to the
>internet for help, if thier web browser isn't working?

Right now, alas, there are many environments (especially UNIX ones)
where you can't easily do text-to-speech on an arbitrary program.
For example, there's no good way that I'm aware of to get PINE to

>I would assume they'd still be able to send e-mail ro read news, 

I wish we could assume that, but we can't. However, with the Web
browser, it's possible to read news, do e-mail, and more. Getting
the Web browser working solves a LOT of other problems.

>tend to be far more helpful than the web, which is all they could use
>lynx for, and if they couldn't do any of these things
>surely they'd be better off talking to thier ISP? 

Depends upon what the problem is, and if the ISP understands (for
example) how to fix a DecTalk. Most do not.

>What you seem to be selling is support, 

No -- that's only one of the things we want to offer. We also want
to license and reuse the code for many applications. Putting your
work under the GPL means that you are effectively foregoing ANY
income from it and giving up all control of its evolution -- for
good. Maybe you could get a little money printing books, pressing 
CDs, or doing one-off consulting work, but the investment you'd 
made in the work itself is gone forever.

Also, a "selling support" model has another severe problem: the 
better your work is, the more income you lose because people do 
not need much support! We want to be rewarded if our code is good, 
not because it is bad.

We also don't want to "nickel-and-dime" users to death. A 900
support line (besides giving most of the revenues to the telephone
company) would be too expensive for many of our users, especially 
those who were unemployed, underemployed, or elderly. And asking 
for a credit card is equally awkward and inefficient. Better to 
finance support from the sale price of the product.

Finally, events in this forum have shown us that the GPL is a tool
of spite and malice. It embodies the ill will of an embittered
academic who resented the fact that his research was used in
the real world -- by those who paid for it! 

We want to do good for people; we certainly would not want to 
subscribe to an agenda that incorporates such childish
and destructive motives. So the GPL is absolutely out.

--Brett Glass

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