[I'm not speaking for ACT or ACT Europe here, it's just what I learned
by working around GNAT ;-]
> It is without fail that the Ada community worries the most about free
> vs. non-free stuff, and that there are a good many
> "commercial"(actually "aerospace") companies that reject "free"
> software for very unrealistic fears. Perhaps it's just a culture
These "unrealistic fears" live their last days. They must
*die*. Major aerospace companies are using GNU software with
support. The European Space Agency funded studies on Free software,
and except some misunderstandings between "public domain" and "free
software", and some surprising points about the lack of commercial
support (ignoring Cygnus for GCC and ACT/ACT Europe for GNAT, but this
is now under control ;-), the report is very positive.
Also, most of these "aerospace" companies purchase source license
of their compiler anyway, so they are of course including this
basic gain (not small!) of using Free Software in their estimation.
Plus the insurance of a long life time.
As for licensing freely developped software, it's right that you
have the choice between multiple alternatives. But be aware that
only the GPL and very close derivatives have "support".
What happens if some big company violates the ACL? Probably
nothing. It would put the FSF and the free software world in a bad
position. Everything is based on the GPL, what happens if the ACL
is flawed... (Dave I assume you're not a lawyer ;-).
If it's the GPL, I'm pretty sure the FSF and a huge lobby will take
(If you're not worried about licensing, put your stuff in the
public domain, end of the story! Someone will take them and put a
GPL on it.)
In some sense, if you choose another license, you weaken for some
"unrealistic fears" the free software world on the licensing issue,
which is a central one.
The GNAT library code is using a slightly modified GPL to allow
linking this code in proprietary programs without having to make
the proprietary stuff available. All ACT/ACT Europe clients (and
other teams without support) routinely write proprietary (and
sometimes *very* proprietary) software with GNAT, and are fully
aware of the licensing conditions of the GNAT library.
This slightly modified GPL is the adaptation to Ada of the license
used for the small library that comes with GCC (and is present in
*all* GCC compiled programs, most of them are proprietary). So
nothing GNAT specific here, this is standard FSF stuff.
So please look at the header of the GNAT library sources:
-- GNARL is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under --
-- terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Soft- --
-- ware Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option) any later ver- --
-- sion. GNARL is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITH- --
-- OUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY --
-- or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License --
-- for more details. You should have received a copy of the GNU General --
-- Public License distributed with GNARL; see file COPYING. If not, write --
-- to the Free Software Foundation, 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, --
-- MA 02111-1307, USA. --
-- As a special exception, if other files instantiate generics from this --
-- unit, or you link this unit with other files to produce an executable, --
-- this unit does not by itself cause the resulting executable to be --
-- covered by the GNU General Public License. This exception does not --
-- however invalidate any other reasons why the executable file might be --
-- covered by the GNU Public License. --
And use this licensing conditions for libraries if you find it
For standalone programs, the full GPL is still a must.
I really think there's a global polical point not to be missed when
choosing your license.
Laurent Guerby <[log in to unmask]>, Ada Core Technologies Europe.
"Use the Source, Luke. The Source will be with you, always (GPL)."