GPL’d Java vs. Gosling Emacs

A nice comment on a slashdot story reporting on made advances in opening up Java taught me a few nice trivias on the history between Richard Stallman and James Gosling in the early days:

“In the early years (1984 to 1988), the GNU Project did not have a single license to cover all its software. What led Stallman to the creation of this copyleft license was his experience with James Gosling, creator of NeWs and the Java programming language, and UniPress, over Emacs. While Stallman created the first Emacs in 1975, Gosling wrote the first C-based Emacs (Gosling Emacs) running on Unix in 1982. Gosling initally allowed free distribution of the Gosling Emacs source code, which Stallman used in early 1985 in the first version (15.34) of GNU Emacs. Gosling later sold rights to Gosling Emacs to UniPress, and Gosling Emacs became UniPress Emacs. UniPress threatened Stallman to stop distributing the Gosling source code, and Stallman was forced to comply. He later replace these parts with his own code. (Emacs version 16.56). (See the Emacs Timeline) To prevent free code from being proprietarized in this manner in the future, Stallman invented the GPL.”

Nice to see how (as the comment author puts it) ‘Richard was right.’

The rest of the comment ( & story) is equally worth a read. Long live the GPL & Java! & so many others :)

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