[rms at gnu.org: Some problems on gnucash.org]

Chris Shoemaker c.shoemaker at cox.net
Thu Aug 10 17:39:31 EDT 2006

On Thu, Aug 10, 2006 at 03:55:19PM -0500, Linas Vepstas wrote:
> Hi,
> I responded at length in the last note, but thought to recap very 
> breifly here.

I see our emails are crossing.

> On Thu, Aug 10, 2006 at 02:41:07PM -0400, Chris Shoemaker wrote:
> > any "This is GNU software" statement certainly casts doubt in my mind,
> Up to about 1999/2000, I personally wrote about 80%-90% of all of the 
> code in GnuCash. At that point, employees of Gnumatic (of which I
> was CEO) stepped in, and the lines-of-code count doubled or tripled.
> > the fact, given that copyright was not being assigned to FSF.
> All Gnumatic employees who were coders filled out an 
> assignment-of-copyright form to FSF, before Gnumaic dissolved.
> This implies that of all the code in GnuCash, as of mid-2000,
> about 90%-95% of it was originated by people who had signed FSF 
> assignments.

I don't understand the nature of that assignment.  It can't have been
an assignment of copyright to the entire Work, since copyright to some
portions were still held by people who made no assignment, and who
continued to develop GnuCash.  Was this some sort of pre-emptive, "if
we succeed in becoming exclusive copyright holders, we assign
copyright of GnuCash to FSF?"  Does this mean that there might be
significant portions of code in GnuCash whose copyright is incorrectly

> > (unless we're all
> > mistaken and GnuCash really is a GNU Package, in which case serious
> > clarification is appropriate.)
> Technically, GnuCash is a GNU Package, as explained in detail in
> the last email.  This does not mean that the Gnu Project provided
> either money or manpower, or even disk space, or CVS or a bug tracker
> or even a web server space. In fact, it provided none of these things.
> (Or rather, GunCash did not make use of Savanah).
> The only thing that Gnu provided was the GPL license, and the
> promise to promote GnuCash as the "official" GNU accounting solution.
> In return, GnuCsh promises to use phrases like "Free Software",
> and to honour feature requests coming from FSF/Gnu for feature
> requests, collaboration requests, and requests to answer questions
> about financial software.
> I would love to build a similar bridge with Gnome, which has long
> had the habit of treating GnuCash as an un-important, third-tier
> non-member of the Gnome Project. Despite the fact that I was there
> to help found the Gnome Foundation, and despite my trying to 
> promote GnuCash within the Gnome desktop project. 

Indeed, I'm sure the two relationships are ambiguous for the same
reason.  AFAIK, neither GnuCash documentation nor GnuCash developers
have ever (publicly) claimed to be part of either Project, despite the
fact that such relationships would seem natural to some.


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