On 25 Sep 2000, at 10:03, Ben Tilly wrote:

> I think David is confused about this situation, but what he
> said is not entirely false.  Anyone who wants can get Perl,
> make changes under the GPL, and release the hacked up version
> under the GPL.  You would now have a GPL-only fork of Perl
> which it is unlikely anyone would actually use, but you would
> have a version of Perl with rather more strict redistribution
> requirements than the current one.

About the "it is unlikely anyone would actually" use -- isn't that what 
happened when ActiveState brought out ActivePerl at first? From 
what I gather, it was mostly because DOS/Windows ships without a 
compiler, and virtually all D/W apps ship only as binaries. So people 
are not used to having to compile stuff, let alone fetch a compiler. So 
if there's one super-duper, Larry-blessed version that makes you 
fetch a compiler, download source, untar (oops, have to fetch tar and 
gzip first and compile those), compile, install, etc., and one version 
that's different, modified, renamed, hacked up beyond recognition -- 
but that ships as an easily-installed binary, a lot of people would go 
for that.

And apparently, shipping OSs without a functioning compiler is not 
the sole prerogative of MicroSoft; for example, HP-UX comes with a 
K&R only C compiler that (so I'm told) is explicitly intended only for 
rebuilding the kernel. For everything else, you're supposed to buy 
their commercial compiler (which does do ANSI). (Didn't Sun also ship 
some system without a C compiler?)

> I take it as virtually axiomatic that if there are two free
> versions of Perl out there, the one that has Larry behind it
> will be the one that people will choose. :-)

Philosophical people maybe, but an awful lot of couch potato-type 
newbies will choose the version that's easy to install and doesn't 
require mucking around with compilers.


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