LinuxSampler license, was Re: [linux-audio-dev] fst, VST 2.0, kontakt

Paul Davis paul at
Tue Jul 4 01:09:04 UTC 2006

On Tue, 2006-07-04 at 10:22 +1000, Ryan Heise wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 03, 2006 at 05:55:11PM -0400, Paul Davis wrote:
> > both guesses are wrong. i think it will be precise enough to say that a
> > company expressed what appeared to be a serious interest in leveraging
> > the existence of LS for its own plans. relationships changed between the
> > various parties, and the LS developers were left in a situation where
> > work they had already done might be used in ways they did not consent
> > to. Meanwhile, the company felt that it was the LS developers who had
> > failed to follow through on the agreement. i don't think its feasible to
> > be more precise than this. 
> > 
> > the core point of the story is that you cannot stop other organizations
> > from making use of your GPL-licensed work even if you have entered into
> > some different kind of arrangement with them. for some people, this
> > represents a serious issue.
> Licensing software under the GPL is giving others consent to use that
> software commercially in certain ways. If there was an additional
> agreement with this specific company that they would not use it in some
> of those ways, it still wouldn't stop other companies who haven't signed
> that additional agreement to use the software in whatever way was
> granted to them under the GPL. What confuses me is why the authors of
> the software chose to release the code under the GPL and also didn't (as
> it seems) want to consent to others using the software in some of the
> ways granted by the GPL. Do I have the wrong picture? (maybe I do, I am
> just going on the little information provided above.)

there is a big difference in how a developer might see this depending on
the relationship with the other party. lets take a concrete case that i
*can* talk about freely. we are quite open about the fact that there are
commercial organizations that have both financially supported Ardour's
development and have also been evangelizing for it quite energetically
in some key high end markets. that has created positive relationships to

now suppose (and i want to stress that i am not for one moment
suggesting that i believe that this will happen) that one such
relationship turned ugly. lets say, really ugly. really ugly as in "if
you ever even talk about how ugly this got, we'll see you in court, if
not before.". or uglier. you get the idea.

how do you think that i and the many other people who have worked on
ardour would feel about allowing a company that ended up putting us in
this situation to continue to ardour under the GPL?

we would not be able to stop it, and i would hope that i would have the
honor and class not to even try, but it would clearly leave a very sour
taste in my mouth (and others' mouths too, i suspect).

something broadly analogous to this happened to the LS guys. unless you
can say in all sincerity that you'd be able to just wave it past you,
smile sweetly and mutter "oh, that's just the GPL at work", i think you
have to be careful when judging other people's actions.

and for this history buffs, i seem to recall that it was precisely this
kind of situation that gave rise to the Aladdin Public License, from the
person who wrote GhostScript.


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