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GNU is Not Unix

Does Shareware X-Chat for Windows Violate the GPL? 594

pc486 writes "The popular IRC client X-Chat has recently come under criticism as to whether or not the new shareware Windows version of the IRC client violates the GPL. All sorts of points are being persued, such as pure GPL Gettext linking, gtk translation worries, copyright issues, who's code is what and more." This is a complicated tale of GPL licensing, so beware.
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Does Shareware X-Chat for Windows Violate the GPL?

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  • From memory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:22PM (#10111782) Homepage Journal
    I'm going off of memory, which may not be correct at all. But here are my assumptions:
    X-Chat is free
    X-Chat may or may not be open source
    X-Chat borrows off of other GPL code

    What's the big deal? Its a free project that no one is getting money from. Now if it was a big corporation, trying to make a profit off of GPL'ed code, I'd see a problem, but this is just silly.

    The thing I notice most about GPL and open source in general is how many internal flame wars ensue. Just be happy things are being passed around for free. No need to worry about how lawyerly the coders can understand the lawyerspeak in the GPL license.

    I'm requalifying my statement to only be valid if my assumptions are true.
    • Re:From memory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by InfiniteWisdom ( 530090 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:31PM (#10111881) Homepage
      There's more to it than money.

      If the people who contributed the code wanted you to use it without giving back what you build off it, they'd have put it under the BSD license instead. If people are giving you their code, you'd better play nice.

    • Re:From memory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rakaz ( 79963 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:36PM (#10111935) Homepage
      The GPL is not about the pricetag of the software. It's about freedom.

      When I write software and release it under the GPL license, I choose that particular license to ensure that the source code can be improved upon by anybody, and that those improvements can be used by anybody. That is the reason I chose the GPL. If I didn't care about this particular issue I would have chosen a different license.

      Just because an application is distributed free - as in price - does not mean it is a less serious violation than when the software is distributed for a fee.

      --
      I'm not the author of any of the code used by X-Chat. However, when somebody did use my code in a closed source application I would definately object to it.

    • Re:From memory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by i_r_sensitive ( 697893 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:51PM (#10112085)
      Dangerous ground there my friend.

      If a principle is only a principle when "big business does it" then what is the point of the original principle?

      More to the point, the drafters of the GPL utterly rejected that proposition, violation of the GPL is violation of the GPL, regardless of how many employees you do or don't have.

      Lastly pally, you seem to think that everyone should just pipe down and be happy they are getting something for nothing. They aren't, this free software doesn't spontaneously code itself, real people do that. When real people contribute their time and effort with no financial compensation and little formal recognition, perhaps their motives are worth examining. When you begin this examination, you start to realize that only certain projects seem to collect these voluntary laborers, and the vast majority of these are GPL. The sophisticated observer at this point will stop, ignore the fact that the software is free, and maybe begin to wonder why this is, and how come there is so much of it. I'll submit to you that maybe, just maybe, it is BECAUSE of the GPL that all that free software is available.

      So perhaps we should look a little deeper before making crass observations about just being happy things are free, and maybe look at some of the why's and wherefore's and maybe developing a more sophisticated view of F/OSS than "something for nothing" (Which it most certainly is not, ask some-one who writes code...)

      As for X-chat, every individual who has contributed code needs to step up and demand the code be removed. The rest of us should remove the program, cease any participation in the development thereof, and make clear to the developer that we cannot accept his interpretation of the GPL, and that no OSS project can survive in an environment of apathy, which his current actions are virtually guaranteed to create.

      In summation, lock both the developer and the original poster in a small closet with RMS.

      • by mystran ( 545374 ) <mystran@gmail.com> on Monday August 30, 2004 @06:55PM (#10113367) Homepage
        As for X-chat, every individual who has contributed code needs to step up and demand the code be removed. The rest of us should remove the program, cease any participation in the development thereof, and make clear to the developer that we cannot accept his interpretation of the GPL, and that no OSS project can survive in an environment of apathy, which his current actions are virtually guaranteed to create.

        Nah, we should fork the project instead.. X-Chat is too good to be killed. It is a very good, clean, usable client you can teach anyone to use in a few minutes. I personally want to be able to contact people by IRC, and I want to be able to provide them with a good, clean, easy-to-use client with a decent graphical interface. And of the clients available, X-Chat is IMHO far better than the rest.

    • Re:From memory (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Theatetus ( 521747 )

      Now if it was a big corporation, trying to make a profit off of GPL'ed code, I'd see a problem, but this is just silly.

      Why? A big corporation's right to brand, support, and sell free software to make a profit is just as important and fundamental as my right to use free software as a hobby. There's nothing anti-GPL about big corporations or about making a profit off of software (hell, GNU still charges a few grand to get a CD of all their stuff). Conversely, there's nothing particularly pro-GPL about a pr

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:23PM (#10111792)
    It's explained very clearly right here [gnu.org].

    The equivalent access clause says they can't charge more for the source than for the binaries.

    Once someone has a copy of the source, they can easily fork it.

  • by arcanumas ( 646807 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:23PM (#10111796) Homepage
    I saw this yesterday and i was wondering the same thing.
    But as far as i can tell, they are only selling the "binary' version of X-chat for windows.

    On the page it says that you are free to download the source code.

    So how is this any different from RedHat and others?

    • by pc486 ( 86611 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:29PM (#10111862) Homepage
      It's a GPL project with contributers and Peter assumed that since the contributers never stated licensing terms that he could close up the Windows client. That and the fact that only the *nix source would be downloadable.
      • My understanding of the GPL says you can't just release the Linux version of the source if you release a Windows binary: You have to release the Windows source and the make files to build it or you are in violation.

        Releasing the Linux only version is no different than taking Open Office 1.1, modifying it to "Bob's Office 1.2" and selling the binary but only releasing the source to Open Office 1.1. This is NOT complying with the GPL, since you are not releasing YOUR changes to someone else's GPL code.

        As
          1. My understanding of the GPL says you can't just release the Linux version of the source if you release a Windows binary: You have to release the Windows source and the make files to build it or you are in violation.

          You're close, and in this case it might not matter because he's distributing a binary that everyone is a potential recipient of. Who the distributor and recipient are matters alot, though. First, the more obvious ground rules;

          • If I distribute a program under the GPL that I and only I have
      • If they contributed to a GPL project, they DID state licensing terms: They specified the GNU Public License.
    • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @04:25PM (#10112375) Homepage
      The source code you can download cannot be used to produce the binary. The binary is apparently produced using unpublished modifications of the GPL code - a clear violation of the GPL. The guy releasing it claims copyright to 'the good bulk of the source code' and as copyright holder he clearly has the right to modify that code and release it under a different license. However, there are also very significant portions of other peoples work in it, as there have been several other developers contributing to it as a GPL project. This guy does NOT have any right to use their contributions in a non-GPL project, and that appears to be the main issue here, because he somehow seems to think he does, that he can just assume that all of the patches and contributions he's recevied to his GPL project can now be treated as if they were his personal property. They can't, and I have a feeling he's about to get a very quick and somewhat brutal education on that point.
  • Dual license (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nuggz ( 69912 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:25PM (#10111816) Homepage
    The link is dead, but the GPL is pretty clear on this.

    As long as they own the copyright they can license it however they want. They can even dual license it, GPL and/or Firstborn.

    If they incorporate GPL code it must be GPL, if they don't, it doesn't need to be. If it uses GPL libraries and the authors didn't license it, it might be a violation, but it does take the copyright owner to complain about infringement.
    • Mod Up. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The One KEA ( 707661 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:28PM (#10111848) Journal
      Precisely.

      If XChat incorporates any GPL-licensed code that they don't get relicensed appropriately by the original authors, then they are in violation.

      Why bother releasing it as shareware anyway? Why not release it as freeware?
      • Re:Mod Up. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dwonis ( 52652 ) *
        It's more than that, if they distributed binaries linked against GPL'd programs, or statically linked against LGPL'd programs, (as is apparently the case [get-linux.org]), then the corresponding source code must be distributed under the GPL or LGPL, respectively.
    • Re:Dual license (Score:3, Informative)

      by Coneasfast ( 690509 )
      As long as they own the copyright they can license it however they want. They can even dual license it, GPL and/or Firstborn.

      GNU argues [gnu.org] that when someone contributes code into the code, the original code can no longer relicense it.

      personally, i don't think this is ethically acceptable, and probably wouldn't hold up in court, unless the amount of code is substantial
      • Re:Dual license (Score:3, Informative)

        by arkanes ( 521690 )
        GNU is absolutely correct, and is _really_ correct in other countries. This is why many large OSS projects have a single copyright holder and require copyright assignments to the copyright holder. Every signifigant contributor of code (for example, code which would be copyrightable on it's own) needs to agree to a global relicensing. What isn't "ethically acceptable" about this?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:25PM (#10111817)
    The GPL says nothing about price, the GPL does not forbid you to sell your software commercially. It only stipulates that the source code should be available, and anyone should be able to use and copy, and modify it... And that's all still the case, even for the shareware version...

    Now move on people, nothing to see here...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:26PM (#10111829)
    Hi! Typical Slashdotter here!

    I haven't read the article, in fact I haven't even read the GPL, but I can say with authority that I don't like RMS.

    So rather than address the issues presented, I thought I'd make some ad hominen attack on RMS instead, because I know I'll get modded up with little effort! And I'll throw in a GNU/Joke as well, because it's easier to attack small things than big things.

    Oh, and I thought I'd mention some FUD as well: the GPL is more restrictive than any other license out there, and the fact that there are so many disputes (three this year alone!) proves what a badly-written and unfree license it is. I prefer the BSD license (which I haven't read either) but the BSD has no restrictions so it's better.

    Also, I'm going to 1) claim that RMS demands things of other people, and then 2) demand that this product use the BSD license instead.

    Thanks for your time! GNU/RMS GNU/sucks!
  • Its pretty simple: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alexborges ( 313924 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:27PM (#10111837)
    A) If its shareware and linking to pure GPL libs, its in violation.
    B) If its shareware and linking only to LGPL libs, it is NOT in violation.
    C) In ANY case, the code that is their sole intelectual property or property of the FSF but sublicenced back to them (standard gig for FSF software), they have the right to make it as closed proprietary stuff as they want.

    • Nope (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Moth7 ( 699815 )
      It's not in violation provided they let you have the sourcecode - which they do, conveniently for download next to the binaries. I don't see the issue here. If people want the sourcecode they can have it , in compliance with the GPL.
      • Re:Nope (Score:3, Informative)

        by lpangelrob2 ( 721920 )
        If I'm required to give the source code out, can I conveniently withhold any makefiles / antscripts, or does that fall under the realm of "source code"?
        • Re:Nope (Score:5, Informative)

          by Monkey-Man2000 ( 603495 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @04:27PM (#10112408)
          The distribution of source code must include everything reasonably necessary to build the code as a binary. So, that includes makefiles. See the following from the GPL [gnu.org]:

          " The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable."
  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moth7 ( 699815 ) <mike.brownbill@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:30PM (#10111868) Journal
    Given that it's shareware with a 30 day binary license, does this mean that since it's sourcecode is GPLd, they must provide the source to the code which enforces the 30 day trial? Strictly udner the GPL this should happen, but it would be suicide if someone could just come along, request the source and use it to break the crippleware timer.
    I don't see any way how one could lock a user out after 30 days without it being breakable from seeing the sourcecode.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:30PM (#10111871)
    It says on the site that the windows version of Xchat is "free for 30 days", after which you must pay the guy 20 bucks. Since the GPL places no restrictions on use (aside from redistribution, of course) this can only mean one of two things:

    1. He owns the copyright to all the xchat code (unlikely) and is dual-licensing xchat in a similar way that QT is dual licensed by trolltech.

    2. He doesn't own all the code the and he's infringing on the copyright of the other xchat contributors (unless they all agreed to this dual-licensing too)

    propz to gnaa
    • Nope, it's door number 3. He admits he doesn't own all the code, but merely promises to remove and rewrite himself any code he didn't write if the programer asks.

      • That is just plain dumb. Its the same level as me stealing anything that takes my fancy from my neighbors houses, and when nabbed by the police, claiming that its ok, because I will return anything if they just ask. No, you can't just take GPL-ed code. You don't own it, you can have it under license - the GPL and you MUST abide by every one of its rules. If you don't you can't have the code. How is this hard to understand?
      • Nope, it's door number 3. He admits he doesn't own all the code, but merely promises to remove and rewrite himself any code he didn't write if the programer asks.

        That's still door #2.

        Think about it. Say I download some big new hollywood movie and start selling it for $20 a pop. Then I say, if anyone involved in this movie complains, I'll stop selling it.

        I'm a violating their copyright?
        Fuck yes it am. I'm distributing that movie without the rights to do so.

        It's the same thing here.

        Any code th
  • by paperdiesel ( 809538 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:36PM (#10111932)
    I knew it was just a matter of time before the forums became slashdotted. For those of you who are locked out:

    Basically, Zed (the author of Xchat) decided to stop release free Windows binaries of Xchat. He is still releasing the linux binaries and, of course, the source, for free. Zed will continue to produce binaries for windows, but now it's shareware. Use it for 30 days, then pay a one time $20 fee, or stop using it (I'm sure it's complete with Regiser today! spam).

    The major arguments:

    Xchat claims to abide by the GPL. If Zed is going to continue to use that license, then he needs to keep the windows binaries free because he can't possibly contact all of the contributing authors and get their permission to charge a fee for their GPL contributions.

    If he wants to charge money for the windows binaries, then he needs to drop the GPL licensing because his shareware violates the GPL on multiple counts (not being able to conveniently contact the contributing GPL authors doesn't immunize him from having to do so before he can charge money).

    Zed initially indicated that he was now charging for windows binaries because of all of the work involved when compiling for windows. He said it took too long, was frustrating, and he wouldn't do it anymore for free. I started a thread that suggested he slow down the windows binary release cycle, to half pace. Release windows binaries every other major release, and you have half the work. It seems his real reason for going shareware is money, not time spent (although they are related, of course).

    imo tbh you can't be GPL compliant, use and compile 3rd party GPL code, and charge people money for it without the expressed consent of the contributing authors.

    Too bad, too. I'll spin "another one bites the dust" for Zed and Xchat as a viable alternative to mIRC in windows.
    • by j0nb0y ( 107699 ) <jonboy300.yahoo@com> on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:46PM (#10112038) Homepage
      imo tbh you can't be GPL compliant, use and compile 3rd party GPL code, and charge people money for it without the expressed consent of the contributing authors.

      You may want to take a closer look at the GPL. It does not forbid charging money for the program. You're just not allowed to charge more than a modest "copy fee" for the source. Since the source is still available for free, I fail to see how Zed is in violation.

      • Source not free (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sbszine ( 633428 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @06:10PM (#10113111) Homepage Journal
        Since the source is still available for free, I fail to see how Zed is in violation.

        The Windows source is not available for free, only the *nix source. The Windows version is binary only shareware built from GPL code, and thus in violation.
      • You may want to take a closer look at the GPL. It does not forbid charging money for the program. You're just not allowed to charge more than a modest "copy fee" for the source. Since the source is still available for free, I fail to see how Zed is in violation.

        The source code for the UNIX version is available for free. Apparently he is no longer providing the source code for the Windows version, despite the fact that several patches for the Windows version were supplied by the community.

        I think

    • Nonsense (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eloquence ( 144160 )
      You don't need anyone's permission to sell GPL software. That's what all the commercial distro makers do. The question is only whether the source code is made available or not (bundled with the app or on demand). Producing and selling binaries of GPL'd software is a perfectly legitimate business.
    • by Daniel Boisvert ( 143499 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:47PM (#10112046)
      From your post it appears that what he's doing is providing a compiling service for the windows platform. He's free to charge whatever he wants for that, as long as he still makes the source available as required by the GPL. It appears he's even gone beyond the scope of the GPL by offering to replace code written by folks who don't like what he's doing.

      If Red Hat, SuSE, SCO, et al can sell compiled versions of GPLed software for money (and without the express consent of each author), why can't this guy?

      (note I haven't read the actual forum posts, due to slashdotting)
      • You forgot the FSF in your list of people selling GPLed Software. For the low low price of $5,000 USD they will happily send you a copy of binaries compiled for your platform and a set of printed manuals.

        https://agia.fsf.org/order/
    • by karmatic ( 776420 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:49PM (#10112069)
      "not being able to conveniently contact the contributing GPL authors doesn't immunize him from having to do so before he can charge money."

      READ THE GPL!!!!!

      Sorry, had to get that out of my system. Anyhow, you most certainly can sell GPL software, and you don't need anyone's extra permission to do so. The GPL is itself permission enough. Free software has to do with freedom, not price. As such, charging money does not make it less free.

      Here you go, from the FSF itself:
      http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.htm l
      • That's true, but by closing the Windows source Peter is closing off GPL code written by others. While selling GPL software is fine, selling GPL software without the code at a resonable cost is not allowed.
      • That's irrelevant.

        It's not about selling GPL software, it's about distributing GPL software under terms which are NOT in accordance with the GPL. For example, as far as I can tell from reading here, the Windows version source is not made available to anyone.

        That is a violation of the GPL. And that would require the permission of all contributing authors, since they submitted their copyrighted work under the GPL license.

        (Just in the same way as anyone else distributing GPL:ed software may not distribute
    • You're wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Otto ( 17870 )
      imo tbh you can't be GPL compliant, use and compile 3rd party GPL code, and charge people money for it without the expressed consent of the contributing authors.

      Go read the GPL again.

      "You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee."

      There's nothing there with regard to pricing. You can take GPL'd code and sell it to your hearts content, as long as you include the source code with it. Note that it must be the com
    • imo tbh you can't be GPL compliant, use and compile 3rd party GPL code, and charge people money for it without the expressed consent of the contributing authors.

      Your opinion, if I understand this sentence, is incorrect. The only requirement the GPL makes is that you make the source available, with the same rights. Therefore, he can charge all he wants for binaries, as long as he releases the source he used to get them. See the GPL [gnu.org]

      Don't believe me (and are too lazy to read the GPL)? Here are some

      • You're missing the inherent issue.
        He IS NOT providing the source for the windows port, which means that he is modifying GPL code and redistributing the binaries without providing the source (download the *nix source and see if it contains the 30 day trial code, etc.)
        Anybody even remotely familiar with the GPL would cry foul.
        • Transgaming sells specialized Wine binaries on a subscription basis, without the express consent of every contributor. This is perhaps the best example, as they also provide the source in a manner similar to what should (probably) be done with xchat.

        Transgaming uses X11-licenced Wine source, not the GPLed branch; they aren't required to fork over code even though they do provide CVS access for most of what they ship commercially.

        Codeweavers uses GPLed Wine source and adds helper programs that are not G

  • Go ChatZilla ! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CdBee ( 742846 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:45PM (#10112018)
    I hope that if X-Chat is going to have troubles with the GPL it will encourage more developers to help with Mozilla's ChatZilla.

    With Mozilla Calendar (Sunbird), Browser (Firefox) and Mail (Thunderbird) already spun off into interesting projects in various stages of development, how long can it be until we have a trule OSS IRC client from them as well?

    I've been using iChat for a year and its fine for IRC use already.
  • If he really hates shipping Windows binaries, he could:

    1) Add source code to shut off XChat after 30 days with an --enable-thirty-day-shutoff configure flag.
    2) Compile with above flag for Windows and offer for free download off of the site.
    3) Compile w/o the above flag for Windows and offer for a $20 service fee.

    The key, of course, is that the same code must be available upon request from a person downloading either binary. Certainly, this would result in someone compiling the binary without the flag and distributing it on a mirror site.

    I imagine though that the license shift is more about greed though. I expect the FSF will step in soon enough.

    Keep in mind, IANAL
  • by jeif1k ( 809151 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @03:58PM (#10112143)
    Yes, compiling stuff for Windows is a lot of work and I see nothing intrinsically wrong with charging for the Windows version of an program that is open source on Linux. But, sorry, if he uses other people's GPL'ed source code, he can't do that retroactively. Those are not the terms under which people contributed code to XChat, and changing the license after the fact without consent from contributors is a violation of trust. Such behavior is bad for the entire open source movement. If you want to do any kind of dual-license work, you have to make sure that you don't put other people's code into your code under the GPL. The solution? If there is an old version of XChat to which he holds sole copyright, he can start with that. Otherwise, he has to start from scratch.
  • by Kurt Granroth ( 9052 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @04:03PM (#10112182)
    This sounds like one of those arguments between those who think that the "free" part of the GPL refers to cost ("free beer") and those who realize that it has nothing at all to do with cost and everything to do with freedom ("free speech"). This isn't at all going into a grey area or even into any of the remotely confusing parts of the GPL.

    Simply put, the GPL does not prohibit charging for binaries. It doesn't even prohibit charging for source (and in fact, I believe RMS has said in the past that he favors charging for the source since it adds perceived value.. I could be very wrong on that, though). What the GPL prohibits is the recipient of the binary or source from redistributing for free later.

    I first came across this style of distributing binaries with the QCad program. QCad is GPLed and is based off of Qt. You can freely download the source and build it yourself if you like. However, if you want a pre-built binary for your platform, then it'll cost you (roughly) $30. I think that's a great idea. What you are paying for, then, is the convenience of not having to build it yourself. Plus, in this case, it gives you a bit of a support contract which is not given for those that build it themselves.

    Now say for the sake of argument that I thought that the QCad author was ripping people off (I don't). I could download his source, compile some binaries for at least Linux and OSX (QtWindows complicates matters so we'll leave that out) and sell them for $5. That would be totally legal and probably even ethical. It would also mean that I was being a jerk.. but the GPL says nothing about that.

    So this entire XChat thing is all a bunch of hair pulling over nothing. They don't need any "okay" from ANY of the code contributors unless they change the license.. and they aren't in this case. If any of the (misguided) contributors insist that their code was meant to be used only in the "free beer" sense as well, then they have every right to create their own XChat windows binaries and distribute them on their own.
  • by the0ther ( 720331 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @04:08PM (#10112241)
    "who's code is what"

    you REALLY mean:

    "who is code is what"

    ???

    Read a book for god's sake.
  • by xeon4life ( 668430 ) <devin.devintorres@com> on Monday August 30, 2004 @04:27PM (#10112404) Homepage Journal
    I have written an open letter to Zed on this subject. Too bad it wasn't put in the original story, as I strongly believe anyone who comments on this shuld first read my open letter.

    It can be found here [get-linux.org].

    -Devin Torres
    • by xeon4life ( 668430 ) <devin.devintorres@com> on Monday August 30, 2004 @04:46PM (#10112563) Homepage Journal
      Ok, it seems nobody actually reads comments, but mods based on length, so I will post my open letter here:

      An Open Letter to Zed
      The GNU Foundation was founded on many ideals, but most importantly is the idea of "free software." The GNU Foundation has a set of moral codes for software to adhere to. One of them is freedom 0, or "the freedom to run the program, for any purpose." The new version of X-Chat for Windows not only contradicts the moral code it was contributed with in mind, it also violates the very license it is licensed with.

      X-Chat is licensed with the GNU GPL, or General Public License. This license tries to encompass many of the ideals expressed by GNU's definition of "free software." The new shareware version of X-Chat violates this license for several reasons:

      Charging not for the physical act transferring, but for merely using the software.
      The distributed binary is not compiled from the source provided.
      The installer, the only medium to install the binary, is also missing the appropriate installer scripts in the source provided.
      The bottom line: It's shareware, and that is not acceptable.

      The only way to use the new X-Chat for Windows after 30 days of use is to pay $20 USD to get an activation license. This is a violation of the GPL, as it clearly states:

      You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee.

      You are not charging for the physical act of transferring, but for your "skill and expertise." Thousands of developers have developed free software only for the enjoyment of benefiting the community. Obviously, you have no such value.

      The distributed binary is not reproducible by any means from the source provided. This is a violation of the GPL, and is clearly stated in their GNU FAQ:

      Can I release a modified version of a GPL-covered program in binary form only?
      No. The whole point of the GPL is that all modified versions must be free software--which means, in particular, that the source code of the modified version is available to the users.

      There are several ways to determine that the distributed binary is not produced from the source provided. One way is to simply look at the registered version. The following is a quote from IRCJunkie from the user codemastr:

      Go download the "shareware" version of X-Chat. In the "Help" menu you will find an entry that says "Register." Also go to Help then About, you will see, "Registered to: Evaluation copy." Now go download the x-chat source code. Now run a search for the word "Evaluation", you will find no results. Now run a search for "Register" you will get hits in an html file (unrelated) and the text string "Registered Scripts:" (also unrelated). Where are these strings coming from? They aren't in the source code that is available on the website. Therefore, they must be from a modified source code, one that includes the registration stuff. That source code is not available, hence - A GPL violation.

      Also, there are the claims by you that you also include things that cannot be found in the source provided. This was taken from an unknown source, but originated from the #xchat channel on the Freenode IRC network:

      12:04:20 | zed> anyway... there's really no alternative, it's either contrib a few bucks, or there wouldnt be any windows builds
      12:13:12 | Inner> zed: I know, needed to ask it to get to a point, so what is the point in charging money for something that someone else somewhere will compile and update and upload a binary for in the end, there for stands to logic no one is going to buy it for $20 anyway if they can get a precompiled version somewhere else.
      12:14:17 | zed> right, the convinience, the extra bug fixes i put, the subtle improvements... noone knows the code better than i do, so it makes that easy

      As is apparent, not only do you include "extra bug fixes" and "subtle improvements," but you also add registration code not found i
  • by Theatetus ( 521747 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @05:31PM (#10112886) Journal

    Just a thought on all the inevitable "free vs. free" threads here: what gets him in trouble is that he gave away binaries gratis. If he just wanted to say "if you want x-chat for Windows, pay me $20" (or whatever) and he sends the buyer the binaries and source if requested. This would be fine, since the GPL doesn't require you to distribute binaries and source to anyone in particular if you don't want to.

    This is only a problem because he released binaries without charging for them. So, this might be an example of how distributing free (beer) actually gets in the way of distributing free (speech).

  • by xant ( 99438 ) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:26PM (#10113544) Homepage
    I was able to build xchat 2.4.0 on windows, just now. I would like to be able to up a binary of it (perhaps on xchat-win32.berlios.de) but sadly, the binary crashes when you try to connect to a server so it's useless right now. The thing compiled with no errors or warnings, and the gui starts right up with no problems. In the hopes that someone can get past the seg fault that's stopping me, here are the build instructions. They are a slightly modifed version of the INSTALL.w32 inside the xchat sources. That file, alas, is somewhat out of date. Also, I've read here that there are mysterious secret patches required on win32. I didn't apply any such patches. If anyone has them, do post them. I'm interested in setting up an xchat-win32 site somewhere.

    Scroll down to the bottom for the details of the crash.

    ---------------

    0. Installed MSVC.NET 2003 from CDROM. This would probably work with freevc++ and .NET SDK, since only
    vc7/bin/, vc7/lib and vc7/include/ are necessary (not MSIDE).

    1. from http://www.gimp.org/~tml/gimp/win32/downloads.html downloaded:
    atk-1.6.0.zip
    atk-dev-1.6.0.zip
    dir ent.zip
    gettext-runtime-0.13.1.zip
    gettext-tools -0.13.1.zip
    glib-2.4.5.zip
    glib-dev-2.4.5.zip
    g tk+-2.4.7.zip
    gtk+-dev-2.4.7.zip
    libiconv-1.9.1. bin.woe32.zip (labeled "GNU libiconv for Win32")
    pango-1.4.1.zip
    pango-dev-1.4.1.zip
    pkg config-0.15.zip
    zlib121-dll.zip (labeled "Zlib 1.2., official Windows DLL distribution")

    2. from http://gnuwin32.sf.net/packages/libpng.htm downloaded:
    libpng-1.2.5-1-bin.zip (Binaries link)
    libpng-1.2.5-1-lib.zip (Developer files link)

    3. Unzipped all this crap as-is into c:/xchat-devtools
    Directories bin, contrib, src, include, share, test, man, manifest should have been created. Also,
    zlib1.dll will be here, and a few text files.

    4. Fixed the placement of 2 header files:
    mv c:/xchat-devtools/include/libintl.h c:/xchat-devtools/include/dirent.h c:/xchat-devtools/include/glib-2.0
    (This is Cygwin's mv. Drag and drop would work fine too..)

    5. Added several things to path:
    C:\xchat-devtools;c:\xchat-devtools\bin

    6. run vcvars32.bat or visual studio command prompt

    7. Do these:
    cd xchat-2.4.0/src
    nmake -f makefile.msc clean
    nmake -f makefile.msc

    Output is in fe-gtk/xchat.exe

    --------------------

    Crash occurs when you try to connect to any server. It breaks at:
    vc7\crt\src\open.c line 181 in _tsopen().
  • by Dwonis ( 52652 ) * on Monday August 30, 2004 @11:12PM (#10114992)
    ... but it seems that it also the OpenSSL licence [xchat.org]
  • by Tyrell Hawthorne ( 13562 ) on Tuesday August 31, 2004 @01:23AM (#10115540) Homepage
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand the GPL it should be possible to do this:

    One person pays for the Windows version and downloads the code for it, which he is entitled to according to the GPL. This is published, and we then have a fork. Any new code from the public GPL code is included in the forked code. Normally there shouldn't be any code changed only for the Windows version so we only need the Windows source once. Of course, unless the Windows source contains code that is not under the GPL.

    Would this work?

    This whole thing is a shame, since an important thing for more wide-spread desktop Linux usage is that you can use the same software (preferably free) as you're used to using in Windows. But that's another discussion!

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