[reportlab-users] Visual editor: Licenses

Andy Robinson andy at reportlab.com
Mon Dec 5 17:27:35 EST 2005

I think there's one more issue before going with PyQT.  We've never had
a flame war yet on this list but who knows, maybe this will start one :-)

It is available under a GPL and a commercial license.  This is
very different to the ReportLab library so far.  So a PyQT GUI would
have to be very carefully separated from our library itself to
avoid 'GPL infection'.

GPL has turned out to be quite 'good for business' for TrollTech, 
BerkeleyDB  and MySQL.  This is because anyone who wants to embed it in 
a closed source product has to negotiate a license - and enough people
want to use databases and GUI toolkits in their apps.  Other companies 
giving stuff away more liberally have often struggled and ended up
as little more than support operations.

So, one possibility is that we start a new 'reportlab2' package
under GPL, with a graphical designer to go with it; and that we could
then release more of our proprietary software like elements
of RML and PageCatcher, offering much higher productivity.  This would 
provide an open source document framework which was easy to use, and 
easy to embed.  A market for embedding would incentivize us strongly to 
produce a packaged, easy-to-deploy library edition, rather than our 
current focus on enterprise solutions which tends to leave open source 
features undocumented :-(.  And if it did well then anyone maintaining a 
graphical editor would have a route to sell that too and thus to invest 
more time in it; I know of several specialist areas where it could be 
customised easily for a vertical market.

On the other hand, this is not the way major Python libraries have
worked in the past.  I have long liked the ability to just use code

How would people feel if the existing code base stayed available as it 
was, but a new version came out under GPL with a lot more functionality?

I cannot promise this is likely, and it wouldn't be a community 
decision, but it would be interesting to get peoples' reactions...

Best Regards,

Andy Robinson
CEO/Chief Architect
ReportLab Europe Ltd.

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