[self-interest] Re: License?

Jecel Assumpcao Jr. jecel at merlintec.com
Fri Dec 17 16:23:05 UTC 1999

John Ars wrote:
> If you port Self to Windows, for example, can you legally sell it?  In
> other words, could you charge for a Self IDE?

While I can't give you legally valid advice, the license that comes with Self
is very simple. Here is the Self 4.0 version slightly restructured to make it
more readable:

You may

      use the software internally,
      modify it,
      make copies and
      distribute the software to third parties,
      including redistribution for profit,

provided each copy of the software you make contains

      the copyright notice set forth above,
      the disclaimer below, and
      the authorship attribution below.

The Self 4.1 license is almost exactly the same, but it eliminated the
"authorship" requirement. This was probably due to the large number of
complaints that the BSD license had about a similar clause.

So you see, if you wish to sell the exact same Self that you have freely
downloaded from Sun, the license lets you do it legally. Of course, why someone
would buy it from you when they can also get it for free is an interesting

If you port it to Windows (modify it) and sell it (including redistribution for
profit), it seems logical that this would be legal too, though other
interpretations are possible. And certainly if you port it to Windows the
license does not require you to release your modifications (which some people
feel would make it harder to sell it).

Now rather than starting from the Sparc/PPC Self, your port might be easier if
it was based on the work Gordon Cichon has done for X86 Linux. In that case,
the license is the GPL and you would be required to release all your changes in
source form and your port would also have to be released under the GPL. But it
would still be perfectly legal for you to sell it.

Thorsten Dittmar has announced a very neat "portfest" to get Self 4.1 running on
Linux (X86, I suppose) in January. From the previous discussion in this list, I
think they are also planning to use the GPL license but am not certain about

I hope this helps,
-- Jecel
P.S.: thanks for the link for the compiler books. I haven't been able to look
at it yet since none of the browsers that I have tried so far seem to be able
to cope with this site....

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