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- To: INFO-LISPM at MIT-AI
- From: Richard M. Stallman <RMS at MIT-AI>
- Date: Sat ,27 Mar 82 00:30:00 EDT
- Sender: RMS0 at MIT-AI
The recent announcement from "the staff of Symbolics" takes the tone
of a generous and magnanimous offer to MIT. People ought to know the
background facts so that they can judge the appropriateness of that
Just about everything which Symbolics says it will do for MIT is
required by the contract (I read it yesterday). Specifically,
Symbolics is required to make available anything which, had it existed
at MIT when the contract was signed, would have been considered a part
of the Lisp machine system. This, in my interpretation, would include
such things as font editors, file systems, new compilers, faster
flavors, etc., though not applications programs.
Symbolics is not required to pay attention to bug reports from MIT.
But they will do this only when it suits them anyway, and we can be
sure they would do so, out of self-interest, in any case. They are
not doing it for MIT's sake. They are not required to put their files
onto an MIT machine; they are only required to let someone from MIT
copy them there. This doesn't make much difference either way.
So Symbolics is not really offering MIT anything.
Instead they are breaking an oral agreement made (I am told) between
Symbolics, LMI and the MIT lawyers, according to which changes to the
basic system would belong to MIT for the sake of compatibility; an
agreement which, until the beginning of this year, they followed.
Their new policy is therefore properly understood as ceasing to do
anything out of their way for MIT's sake, as they used to do, and
instead doing only what is good for them or required in writing.