Slow Lane

GPL and the Copyright Problem

First I chose GPL for Winpdb, then only 2 years later I actually discovered Free Software, what it stands for and the fascinating universe behind these two words, but now a year later I have stumbled on a problem.

GPL is a tool that uses copyright to enforce software freedom, but… in order to be able to enforce that there must be a copyright holder that can take action. The FSF is aware of this and is carefully requiring contributors and their employers (!) to sign legal papers of copyright transfer:

The problem is that most GPL projects can not afford to force potential contributors to get their employers to sign legal papers as it will reduce the number of contributions to 0 and therefore the copyright to their projects is either dispersed among the different contributors or even worse, is questionably held by a single person or entity (with emphasis on questionably).

What does that practically imply on GPL?

On my search for answers I stumbled upon an interesting article from the year 2000 in Advogato (A recommended site). It became even more interesting when I spied a comment by one Bram Cohen who at the time was little known in the Universe as he did not yet leave his job to write BitTorrent:

I would appreciate your educated opinion or a reference to articles on this subject.

A GUI Builder for Python

Would you like to have a usable GUI builder for Python? Do you feel as I do that such a tool is missing? I have been planning it in the past months and an initial document is available at I would love to have your opinion. I will only be able to develop this project effectively if I can find a sponsor so it is currently being developed rather slowly on my spare time.

The Tychod

Tychod stands for Tycho debugger which is a reference to a story/article by Richard Stallman called “The road to Tycho” about a world where possession of a debugger has been made illegal to prevent people from working around DRM mechanisms.

An interesting point that Stallman discusses in another article “The GNU Project” is that popularity of free software is spreading faster than the philosophy of freedom that motivated it. This is what he says:

Estimates today are that there are ten million users of GNU/Linux systems such as Debian GNU/Linux and Red Hat “Linux”. Free software has developed such practical advantages that users are flocking to it for purely practical reasons.

The good consequences of this are evident: more interest in developing free software, more customers for free software businesses, and more ability to encourage companies to develop commercial free software instead of proprietary software products.

But interest in the software is growing faster than awareness of the philosophy it is based on, and this leads to trouble. Our ability to meet the challenges and threats described above depends on the will to stand firm for freedom. To make sure our community has this will, we need to spread the idea to the new users as they come into the community.

But we are failing to do so: the efforts to attract new users into our community are far outstripping the efforts to teach them the civics of our community. We need to do both, and we need to keep the two efforts in balance.

Fast Lane

Winpdb 1.4.4 Tychod Released

Winpdb 1.4.4 Tychod is available for download at The new version fixes a major regression to exception analysis.

Silently Broken

I just noticed that exception analysis in Winpdb is broken since September, when I made it compatible with Python 3.0. In case you are interested the fix is available in the repository which you can pull if you install Mercurial (Source Control Management System).
To pull the latest version of Winpdb from the repository do the [...]

End of the Editor Wars

My search for the perfect editor has finally come to an end. Yesterday I found it and it is called NetBeans IDE 6.5.
I downloaded and installed the package for PHP development. It simply does so much right. Its project management, symbol lookups, code completion, in-file searches, across-files searches and source navigation are superb. Using its [...]

Winpdb 1.4.2 Tychod Released

Winpdb 1.4.2 Tychod is available for download at The new version is compatible with Python 3.0 rc2. GNU/Linux users, please use the source package. Windows users with Python 2.6 or later, please read the instructions in the download page.

Winpdb 1.4.0, Second Take

Python 2.6 users, read this:
I posted a new Windows installer for Winpdb 1.4.0 Tychod that installs on Python 2.6. The original installer was built with Python 2.5 and does not install on Python 2.6 (which is the result of a bug in Python). There are no changes to the package files.
Hey, GNU/Linux users: Winpdb runs [...]

Stani Michiels

Stani Michiels, the author of Stani’s Python Editor (SPE) who is also an architect and artist won a design contest for a new Dutch commemorative 5 Euro coin. Here is the full story as told by him:
Stani is also the one who started me working on Winpdb three years ago when he was looking [...]

Winpdb 1.4.0 Tychod Released

Winpdb 1.4.0 Tychod is available for download. It is now compatible with Python 2.6 and 3.0 beta 2 and the step-into-child-process functionality is working again. The full list of changes is available at the download page.
Did you know that on GNU/Linux Winpdb allows you to magically step into a spawned child process?

A Mailing List is Born

As if the world needed another mailing list, a new Google Group mailing list has been created to which you can post anything related to Winpdb:

Debugging Explained

Chris Lasher recently migrated his excellent tutorial on Winpdb and debugging in general to the Winpdb Wiki. Thanks Chris!

Winpdb for Python 3.0beta1

For those of you who like living on the bleeding (and buggy) edge of the software world I have uploaded a version of Winpdb compatible with Python 3.0beta1 and Python 2.6beta1 to the mercurial repository: Instructions are available at
If you find anything that got broken with this update please let me know.
Keep [...]

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