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Subject: Re: Legal issues, names, privacy, and pseudonyms
From: Christi Alice Scarborough (christi_at_chiark.greenend.org.uk)
Date: 2004-06-09


BlueChip wrote:

> There is a solution to this puzzle, it's finding someone who is smart
> enough
> to work out what it is! I do not believe in "impossible"

The traditional solution is, of course, a fork distributed as a patch to
the release source. For example, when Alan Cox wanted a more feature
rich bleeding edge kernel than Linus Torvalds was willing to sanction,
he created the -ac series Linux kernel patches. For a while this was
actually the only sensible way to get some quite necessary functionality
from Linux. A lot of this functionality was then rolled back into the
"official" kernel at a later date.

So one possible solution is for Bluechip (or whoever) to create a GPLed
version Rockbox as a patch on the daily build. They are then free to
follow their own policies about what to accept and not to accept.
Rockbox gets to retain its purity, those users that want it can have
builds with extra functionality, everyone wins. (Except perhaps the
person who has to maintain the patches, since it's a bit more work that
maintaining a source tree.) The core developers can keep an eye on the
patch, and take what they like from it.

I have no axe to grind either way on this issue. It just seems that the
core team wants to take Rockbox in a different direction from Bluechip.
  I think there's actually room for both a solid stable core feature set
and a more bleeding edge open development version. And the beauty of
GPL is that both are possible if people want them enough. And both sets
of developers get complete control over what goes in 'their' build.
For embedded devices the issue of which features get incorporated are
actually more important than in your average piece of software, since
you do have a more limited amount of memory available.

I suspect that most Rockbox users are not the kind of people that want
or can roll their own Rockbox. More choice for them is not necessarily
a bad thing. And if everyone can manage to stay amicable and friendly
about it, in the way Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox did, all Rockbox users
should be able to benefit from it.

Christi
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