Kylix Open Edition: Spread the word!

By: Danny Thorpe

Abstract: Danny Thorpe of Delphi/Kylix R&D responds to newsgroup questions about the Kylix Open Edition's mandatory splash screen.

Kylix Open Edition is a free product that enables everyone to build robust Linux applications using Borland's RAD tools. Applications built using the Kylix Open Edition tools are subject to the GNU General Public License, which means you must distribute the source code for your application when you distribute your application.

The price of the free development tool is that the source code to the applications you create with it must also be free. The GNU General Public License does not prohibit commercial sales of your application, but it does require that your source code be freely available. More details can be found in the Borland Kylix FAQ.

The GPL Banner

All applications created with the Kylix Open Edition display a message at application startup declaring that the application is subject to the GPL. Some folks have grumbled that this "splash screen" is intrusive, ugly, or just plain unfair.

GPL declarations at application startup are certainly nothing new. The EMACS editor itself, created by the Free Software Foundation founders, displays a GPL declaration in its startup messages.

As for the Kylix Open Edition splash screen being ugly, you can fix that. The splash screen can be customized with your own product logo or icon if you include resources in your application with the appropriate resource name (see the source file for details). The GPL license terms on Kylix Open Edition require that the banner be present, but you do have options to customize the display of that banner.

The Kylix R&D team went through a lot of effort (and months of debate) to implement a corporate mandate for product differentiation in the least intrusive way we could. If we had taken the easy route and just implemented the exec's first ideas, it would have been very ugly for you, the Open Source developer. The Kylix Open Edition implementation strikes a reasonable balance between inconvenience, configurability, and license communication to the end-user (the users of your Kylix-developed applications).

The point of all this is to make the distinction between the Open Edition tools and the commercial products very clear. The ongoing development of Kylix Open Edition and commercial Kylix is funded by the sales of commercial Kylix. If the distinction between the Open Edition and the commercial product cannot be maintained and no one bothers to buy the commercial Kylix, the Linux community will lose both the Kylix Open Edition and the Kylix commercial tools.

Kylix Open Edition is a complete state-of-the-art development environment including native code compiler, graphical debugger, visual application design tools, and a suite of reusable CLX components. Kylix Open Edition supports the FreeCLX libraries, and has all of the extensibility capabilities of the commercial Kylix and Delphi development tools, including support for installing additional components, property editors, and wizards to the design environment.

The differentiators between the Kylix Open Edition and the Kylix commercial products are licensing, number of included components, and IDE bells and whistles. The commercial products will always have "more stuff" than the Open Edition, but as long as Kylix R&D has any say in the matter the Open Edition will always be a fully functional development tool - the best complete RAD environment for Linux Open Source development.

Borland is taking a risk by releasing Kylix Open Edition as a fully-functional development environment. We're gambling that the availability of the free toolset will drive more sales of the commercial tools than it will cannibalize. If we're proven wrong, we will go back to what pays the bills.

Evangelize Kylix!

What you as a member of the Open Source community can do is help support our efforts to support you. You can help us evangelize Kylix - all versions of Kylix. Kylix Open Edition, Kylix Desktop Developer, Kylix Server Developer, and (in the not too distant future) Kylix Enterprise Edition and the Kylix C++ siblings.

Evangelizing means writing Kylix articles and books, teaching Kylix classes, giving Kylix demos to colleagues, and writing and deploying applications that say "Hey, you can create great GUI and server apps on Linux in a snap - with Kylix!"

Helping others understand where Kylix Open Edition is the most appropriate tool for a task and where Kylix Desktop or Server Developer are the more appropriate solutions is the best way to help the Kylix family grow - and indirectly, boost Linux, too!

-Danny Thorpe
Lead Engineer, Delphi/Kylix Compiler & Libraries
Borland Software Corporation

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