On Oct 25 Nomad (Nomad of Norad (David C. Hall)) wrote:

> In a forwarded message, by "Steve Crietzman"
> which was written on 23 Oct 1999, was said:
> > I am considering creating a survey to collect some useful
> > numbers and statistics.  This should prove interesting either way,
> > but I am also considering making this into a petition, so that
> > those who would like to see AmigaOS open-sourced can give
> > their backing and support to the idea, and then have all
> > this information forwarding to Amiga President Tom Schmidt
> > - to help him in making his decision ;)
> Well, if we can get a huge enough group of people to go to the site and
> participate, then regardless of the answers we get, it might get GatesWay's
> attention simply from the numbers that show up.

Before you start working on a petition, I'd like you to consider a few
things first. An open source AmigaOS is not going to cure all the problems we
are facing today. If you are going to ask for support, also ask why exactly you
want AmigaOS to go Open Source. What may come out of the equation might not be
what you are expecting. For example, AmigaOS is protected by a number of 
patents of which the first may run out in the year 2003. Making the operating
system open source does not necessarily include the option that Gateway will
also hand over the patents. One such patent covers the way pull-down menus are
drawn on the Amiga. To avoid patent infringement, one would have to make major
changes to Intuition. Next thing, the name "Amiga" is a trademark, so is 
"Kickstart", so is "Workbench", so is "AmigaGuide", so is "AmigaDOS" and a
number of other names. One would need to get permission to use these
trademarks, even for such innocent things as "amigaguide.library",
"workbench.library", etc. which concern the API. If you can't use those names,
you get into real trouble since the names are associated with the AmigaOS
programming interface. And don't forget that the material that ships on a
Workbench disk and the code and data you find in ROM is not exclusively owned
by Gateway. There is 3rd party material included which Commodore used to 
license either in binary form or as a special kind of source code license
which did not allow for redistribution. This means for example, an open source
AmigaOS would not include ARexx, the Fountain/bullet.library font rasterizer,
CrossDOS, 68040.library, mathffp.library, the mathieee libraries, none of the
Adobe bitmap fonts, none of the AGFA CompuGraphic fonts, etc. Next comes the
question of build tools: a source code is dead material unless you can build a
working product from it. And AmigaOS is built using a variety of 3rd party
tools for which Commodore used to obtain licenses which did not allow for
redistribution either: part of the operating system is built using a `C'
compiler developed by Green Hills, Inc. You won't be able to use that compiler
without a license, and their products aren't cheap.

Ok, so far I have only touched some of the issues involved, but there are
plenty more (such as involving quality: most open source projects suffer from
ineffective to inexistant quality control; once this happens to AmigaOS, you
can expect most of the commercial developers left in the market to abandon
ship). The general impression I got so far is that the people who ask for
making AmigaOS open source do not realize what it is they would be getting.
Worse, they don't even know exactly why they are asking for it. All by itself,
the source code won't help us. There's plenty more to take into consideration.

Take great care, as it may be possible that Gateway, unaware of the details,
may make the decision to turn the AmigaOS source code loose, but fail to 
provide for the means to allow it to survive. Then AmigaOS will be really
dead, killed by legal restrictions.

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