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Python 2.4 killing commercial Windows Python development ?

I've been using python to write a simple 'launcher' for one of our Java
applications for quite a while now. I recently updated it to use python
2.4, and all seemed well.

Today, one of my colleagues noted that on her machine the launcher would
complain it was missing a DLL - msvcr71.dll

However, there's a very grey area concerning the redistribution of said DLL.

If you've been keeping up with the dev list, and some other web
discussions, you'll see that this has cropped up several times, but with
no conclusion in a legal fashion other than 'investigate it on your own
legal terms'.

I'm now going to have step back to using 2.3 until this issue is solved,
but judging by the way the dev list discussion just faded, I get the
impression that it may be a long wait.

I can't see how any company (or individual) can distribute an
application written in python, and then 'frozen' (I used py2exe) in any
way if they rely on the python24.dll that ships as standard. This is
surely a step backwards in usability.

I have no idea concerning the issues of rebuilding a different version
of python24.dll to be linked against the common msvcr.dll or whatever,
or changing the 'freeze' applications to do some magic, but I can't
believe it should be down to the end user to jump through legal or
compilation hoops when they're trying to use the language.

Apologies if this seems more aggressive than I intended it to be - I'm
just frustrated at having to stop following my language of choice for
the foreseeable future so far as my work is concerned.

Michael.
Jul 18 '05 #1
35 3094
Michael Kearns <mi************ @REMOVEsaaconsu ltants.com> writes:
I've been using python to write a simple 'launcher' for one of our
Java applications for quite a while now. I recently updated it to use
python 2.4, and all seemed well.

Today, one of my colleagues noted that on her machine the launcher
would complain it was missing a DLL - msvcr71.dll

However, there's a very grey area concerning the redistribution of said DLL.

If you've been keeping up with the dev list, and some other web
discussions, you'll see that this has cropped up several times, but
with no conclusion in a legal fashion other than 'investigate it on
your own legal terms'.

I'm now going to have step back to using 2.3 until this issue is
solved, but judging by the way the dev list discussion just faded, I
get the impression that it may be a long wait.

I can't see how any company (or individual) can distribute an
application written in python, and then 'frozen' (I used py2exe) in
any way if they rely on the python24.dll that ships as standard. This
is surely a step backwards in usability.


For commercial development, it should not be a problem to buy a license
for MSVC 7.1, which gives you the right to distribute msvcrt71.dll.

And maybe that's the reason that few people care about this issue?

Thomas
Jul 18 '05 #2
Thomas Heller wrote:
For commercial development, it should not be a problem to buy a license
for MSVC 7.1, which gives you the right to distribute msvcrt71.dll.

And maybe that's the reason that few people care about this issue?


Hi Thomas,

There are a few problems with this as I see it. In theory, the 'cost' of
MSVC 7.1 shouldn't be a problem for a big organisation. However, I
wouldn't expect to have to go and buy it purely because I'm developing
(perhaps) a shareware application using python - this isn't my case, but
I wasn't looking at it from just a big organisation perspective.

Also, I don't believe that just 'owning' MSVC 7.1 is enough. From
cursory glances at the various redist files, I would also have to ship
the EULA, and as an end-user (of python) I can't just redistribute the
files - perhaps I could write a place holder application in MSVC to
suggest that I was no longer an end-user, but this seems ridiculous as a
workaround.

There even seem to be 'exclude' clauses to redistribution concerning
open-source material, but IANAL and ran from the various paragraphs.

I would like to think that python would encourage as many folk as
possible to use the language wherever it fits best (and perhaps even
beyond) and yet this is going in the opposite direction.

Would it be so difficult for a 'no legalese attached' version to be
provided on windows, or at the very least, some kind of statement
regarding what is and isn't allowed ? There seems nothing within the
python distribution stating the redistribution rights of the dll
(correct me if I'm wrong) which already seems contrary to the MS
requirements.

As much as I'd like to continue using it, because of the vague legal
situation, I can't, and that's unfortunate.

Michael.
Jul 18 '05 #3
[Michael Kearns]
...
Also, I don't believe that just 'owning' MSVC 7.1 is enough. From
cursory glances at the various redist files, I would also have to ship
the EULA, and as an end-user (of python) I can't just redistribute the
files - perhaps I could write a place holder application in MSVC to
suggest that I was no longer an end-user, but this seems ridiculous as a
workaround.

There even seem to be 'exclude' clauses to redistribution concerning
open-source material, but IANAL and ran from the various paragraphs.

I would like to think that python would encourage as many folk as
possible to use the language wherever it fits best (and perhaps even
beyond) and yet this is going in the opposite direction.

Would it be so difficult for a 'no legalese attached' version to be
provided on windows, or at the very least, some kind of statement
regarding what is and isn't allowed ?
I think it would be difficult. "We" (the Python developers) didn't
write Microsoft's license, have no special insight wrt it, and aren't
lawyers either. If you want legally binding clarifications or
exemptions, I think they have to come from Microsoft (it's their
license).

It would be cool if commercial users got together, pursued this with
MS, and shared what they learned. Of course it would also be cool if
someone with no commercial MS interests did so, but the chance of that
happening seems nil.
There seems nothing within the python distribution stating the redistribution
rights of the dll (correct me if I'm wrong) which already seems contrary to the
MS requirements.
That's possible too. MS hasn't complained to the PSF yet, but that's
no guarantee they won't.
As much as I'd like to continue using it, because of the vague legal
situation, I can't, and that's unfortunate.


Maybe the Python Business Forum could take this on? I don't know
whether they're still active, and their site isn't working today (at
least not for me):

http://www.python-in-business.org/

If someone(s) volunteered to do the work, it's also possible (not
certain) that the PSF would pay for lawyer time.
Jul 18 '05 #4
Mentre io pensavo ad una intro simpatica "Michael Kearns" scriveva:
I've been using python to write a simple 'launcher' for one of our Java
applications for quite a while now. I recently updated it to use python
2.4, and all seemed well.
Today, one of my colleagues noted that on her machine the launcher would
complain it was missing a DLL - msvcr71.dll


I have the same problem. But I have a doubt, does Python installer ship
this dll?
What happens if I try to install Python2.4 on a system wich doesn't have
the dll?

--
The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is
working.

|\ | |HomePage : http://nem01.altervista.org
| \|emesis |XPN (my nr): http://xpn.altervista.org

Jul 18 '05 #5
Hi !

This DLL come also with MS-JVM engine, who is free. Therefore...

--
Michel Claveau

Jul 18 '05 #6
Michael Kearns wrote:
There are a few problems with this as I see it. In theory, the 'cost' of
MSVC 7.1 shouldn't be a problem for a big organisation. However, I
wouldn't expect to have to go and buy it purely because I'm developing
(perhaps) a shareware application using python - this isn't my case, but
I wasn't looking at it from just a big organisation perspective.


For developers that need msvcr71.dll on the target system which don't
have a license to distribute it, the solution is simple: they just need
to advise their users to install python-2.4.1.msi. This comes with
msvcr71.dll included.

Regards,
Martin
Jul 18 '05 #7
Nemesis wrote:
I have the same problem. But I have a doubt, does Python installer ship
this dll?
It sure does.
What happens if I try to install Python2.4 on a system wich doesn't have
the dll?


It will just work. Python installs the DLL if it is missing, and leaves
it alone (just incrementing the refcount) if it is present on the target
system.

Regards,
Martin

Jul 18 '05 #8
Martin v. Löwis wrote:
Michael Kearns wrote:
There are a few problems with this as I see it. In theory, the 'cost' of
MSVC 7.1 shouldn't be a problem for a big organisation. However, I
wouldn't expect to have to go and buy it purely because I'm developing
(perhaps) a shareware application using python - this isn't my case, but
I wasn't looking at it from just a big organisation perspective.


For developers that need msvcr71.dll on the target system which don't
have a license to distribute it, the solution is simple: they just need
to advise their users to install python-2.4.1.msi. This comes with
msvcr71.dll included.


I believe there are no restrictions on us redistributing
python-2.4.1.msi either, which would suggest that it
could simply be included in an installer package, and
perhaps the relevant DLLs could even be extracted from
the msi file without having to install it... I seem
to recall someone ;-) was making progress on an msi
package for Python which might be capable of this
too.

Of course then you'd need Python installed already in
order to install your application. On the other hand,
you could always include a copy of Python 2.3 as well,
and use that to extract the DLLs from the MSI.

Or other equally insane approaches ...

-Peter
Jul 18 '05 #9
And, also, with dotNET-framework

Jul 18 '05 #10

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