Reply to post: Re: Email is fundamental to modern life

Finally: Historic Eudora email code goes open source

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Re: Email is fundamental to modern life

Whilst I respect David Harris's position regarding Linux, I suspect that if he is still working with Pegasus, he needs to at least update his blog regarding his position. It's dated April 2005.

Reading it, I don't think he's really understood GPL and LGPL. Just producing a free package that runs on Linux does not necessarily mean that the package needs to be open-sourced or published under GPL, as long as it is written correctly. It is perfectly possible to produce binary only software for free distribution under another license, or even commercially, as long as you do not incorporate any GPL code in your code-base. Most of the required C and C++ libraries required to compile your own packages are published under LGPL, which allows them to be linked in either statically or dynamically to a binary package.

This fact annoys some of the Open-Source stalwarts who want to convert the whole world to software that is free and open (RMS, I'm looking at you), but the licenses were written the way they were for a reason.

I appreciate that if he uses an editor from a third party as part of the package, then he would have to get some agreement on that, but Linux repositories are full of editors, which provided they are run as separate processes, can be called quite freely from another program without any licensing issues. Using it as a widget may be a little more problematic, although much of, say, Qt or GTK+ are published under LGPL, so there will be editor widgets in them somewhere.

The issue of support is only one of degree. At the time of writing the blog, he was doing it for Windows, so doing the same for Linux, once the learning curve has been followed, would not be significantly different, just more.

But given the date on the blog, and the overall age of the software, I suspect that he is just not interested in porting the product, and if this is the case, when Microsoft starts removing some of the legacy APIs in Windows, the Windows package may be doomed in the log term.

Opening it up to other developers is the only real way to keep the package alive over the longer term. And if Mercury is actually a functional email server, then a Linux port, even a commercial one, would be really welcome.

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