Re: Distribution of CERN WWW software

P. M. Hallam-Baker (
Thu, 17 Nov 1994 16:05:31 +0100

In article <> you write:
|> Jean-Philippe Martin-Flatin writes:
|> > Sounds to me CERN want to prevent other people from making money out of CERN's
|> > work, which is a very reasonable thing to do IMHO.
|> I suspect that we are talking about W3O and not CERN.
|> My guess is that they plan on making money off of memberships to the
|> consortium (a good thing and I hope my company will join) and somehow
|> believe that will be more possible if they own the copyrights to libwww.
|> Let's just say that I'm skeptical that this is the best solution. The
|> code has been in the public domain in the past and the WWW project has
|> grown at a phenomenal rate. I see no reason that changing this will be
|> better for the WWW project as a whole, tell me why I'm wrong.

This is all rather muddled thinking. The consortium and the organisation are
actually different institutions. The Consortium is a vendors club and the
organisation a collaboration between MIT and CERN. Actually this is not quite
what they are but despite apperances they are very separate.

The point about the copyrights is that a large number of people are not aware that
many products including Mosaic are built on top of CERN code. This means that
CERN does not get the credit it should and also means that many programmers
are unaware that they can obtain the communications core of a browser and server
from CERN without cost.

|> They have much more to offer than the copyright on libwww (which isn't at
|> all a key piece of technology itself). They have some incredible talent
|> at their disposal (TimBL just to start) and I believe that W3O will be
|> critical to the development of WWW in the future.
|> I want to see the new copyright and then I'll decide what I want to do.
|> I hope I'm wrong but I did want to make my objection public so that this
|> issue could be discussed.

When I saw Stallman he was rather concerned about the putting of the libraries in
the public domain and advised the GNU license (what a suprise). Actually the
GNU public license would not work for CERN since it is an international organisation.

Phill H-B