Continuing ncurses development

From: Jason Evans <>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 1997 23:06:17 -0700 (PDT)

Even after all of the email sent out by Eric Raymond and Thomas Dickey, it
is still not clear to me why there has been such a breakdown, and
downright fight over ncurses.

The state of affairs between Raymond and Dickey is disappointing.
However, as a bystander, it is not my main concern. What is concerning to
me is how unfree the supposedly free ncurses is. Raymond has demonstrated
his willingness to retract his free, mostly unrestrictive license. Given
the uncertainty of the future of ncurses, I am reluctant to contribute to
the ongoing development.

I see two possible solutions to the problem:

1) Get all of the major contributors of ncurses (Eric Raymond, Zeyd
Ben-Halim, Thomas Dickey, Juergen Pfeifer, and anyone else I missed) to
assign their copyrights to a third party, under an undoubtedly free
copyright (such as Berkeley style or GPL). The FSF would in my opinion be
a good candidate.

2) Start from scratch and make sure it's free this time. This would be an
unfortunate waste of a lot of existing good work.

Though it is my opinion that Raymond does not have a legal leg to stand
on, I would not want to defend my position in court. Therefore, I find
Raymond's demonstration of willingness to prosecute a big enough deterrent
to drop further development of the current ncurses, unless he (and the
other parties involved) somehow guarantees that his contribution will
remain unequivocably free.

Jason Evans

Jason Evans: [MRC System Administrator]
e-mail: []
office phone: [(208) 885-7226]
home phone: [(208) 882-6745]
quote: ["Invention is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration." - Thomas Edison]
Received on Mon Jun 02 1997 - 02:06:56 EDT

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