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355Re: [Lilax] Re: [lalugs] Microsoft lobbying against the GPL

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  • Christopher Smith
    May 9, 2001
      On Wed, May 09, 2001 at 08:21:15AM -0700, Steve M Bibayoff wrote:
      > Which all of this begs the question could anyone point to a fork in GPL
      > code that wasn't completly forked because of direction of use(Linux x86
      > vs. Linux PPC) or eventually recombined(gcc vs. egc)?
      > An clearer explantion of what I am trying to ask was presented at
      > a "brown-bag presentation" at Linuxcare by Rick Moen. A recap is
      > here:http://www.linuxcare.com/viewpoints/article/11-17-99.epl
      > There is an updated version on Rick's server(linuxmafia.com), but it
      > appears to be unreachable at the current moment.

      Hmm... I looked at his article, and the citing he makes about Lucid
      emacs (XEmacs) vs. GNU Emacs is really innaccurate.

      The truth (as I remember it) was that proprietary emacs's where being
      built from public domain emacs code back before GNU emacs
      existed. Probably the most well known of these was Gosemacs (short for
      Gosling emacs --yup, written by the same guy who brought us
      Java). This pissed off a number of people, but in particular it
      provided a lot of motivation for RMS to start up the GNU project & the

      Part of this project created GNU emacs. GNU emacs proved to be a damn
      good version of emacs, and Lucid decided they would like to use it as
      a foundation for the Unix development tools. However, they needed some
      more features in it. At this time we were back in the era of GNU Emacs
      18, which was pretty ignorant (really completely ignorant) about
      GUI's. The FSF was already working on GNU Emacs 19, which among other
      things would be GUI-aware. Lucid actually hired a GNU developer to
      work on building GNU emacs 19. However, for a ton of reasons (both
      technical and social) that JWZ describes better than I can, Lucid
      and GNU were unable to align their goals. Rather than abandoning the
      substancial development efforts they'd already made Lucid proceeded to
      continue independantly on their efforts. Of course, GNU emacs fell
      under the GPL (and had since GNU Emacs version 1), and as such, Lucid
      had no choice but to release the source code for their "enhanced"
      version once they distributed the product. This was zero problem for
      Lucid because they had intended to do this all along, the only thing
      that changed was that their version was a fork with the FSF's own

      Eventually Lucid Emacs became XEmacs. However, it's worth emphasizing
      that Lucid/X Emacs was NEVER anything but free software, and we can
      thank the GPL for this.

      In terms of popularity, I'd say Emacs is as popular as it ever was
      (arguably not a grand achievement ;-), XEmacs and GNU Emacs enjoy a
      surprising amount of compatibility, and I wouldn't exactly say that,
      within the Emacs community, GNU Emacs has an overwhelming
      representation compared to XEmacs.

      Just wan't to clear that up. ;-)

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