[Geoprisma-dev] Licensing was: MapFish-trunk in external
woodbri at swoodbridge.com
Tue Dec 22 12:07:50 EST 2009
We have been discussing licensing issues and concerns about GeoPrisma.
Any light and advice would be appreciated.
Yves Moisan wrote:
>> Since you asked for my opinion in a previous email, here it is:
>> I am not a specialist of the GPL, but I believe Steve's analysis is
>> right: publishing a BSD product which includes some GPL components
>> imposes the GPL restrictions on all the BSD code and prevents the
>> production of closed-source derivatives. This is not a problem for
>> GeoPrisma/MapFish directly, but may be a problem for users of
>> GeoPrisma/MapFish who do not want to be required to publish the source
>> code of their applications. What is fuzzy to me in the Web world is how
>> far the GPL reaches in its propagation.
> Hi Daniel,
> I agree this is an issue, but probably more for service organizations
> than "using" organizations. If an organization gets a web mapping
> application done by a consultant like Stephen and they use it for their
> purpose, then I do not think they are required to release their code.
> It's their mods. That's what I call a "using" organization.
I will reference Daniel's comment about all the "using" organizations in
the GDAL pages that probably would NOT have funded it or participated if
it were not BSD.
> Now if an organization builds a nice routing application on top of
> Geoprisma and that they sell or provide to other customers, then the
> issue comes.
This does not clarify the discussion on licensing. There is only one
thing that needs to be done and I hear that you are working toward that
end, which is to make sure you can clearly declare what your license is
or is not.
Currently, GeoPrisma has declared its licensing is BSD. People make use
decisions based on that declaration. They expect that the PSC will
insure that the product is BSD clean.
If GeoPrisma wants to declare their product is GPL, that is GeoPrisma's
Just be clear and that is not always easy, becuase it means the you have
to understand the implications of EVERY other licensed product that you
choice to include in GeoPrisma.
I think the correct question to ask is:
If I add your XYZ product into GeoPrisma, will it violate of change my
>> In the traditional desktop app
>> mode, the rule seems more clear: my understanding is that if you link
>> directly with a GPL component then all the code that links with it
>> becomes bound to the GPL rules and must be published. In the web world
>> it is not clear what linking means and how far GPL reaches in the
>> components that it touches.
>> It also seems to me that people are bending the rules and tend to ignore
>> the GPL nature of ExtJS when they use it with MapFish and GeoExt...
> Very good point indeed. Even if MapFish were to move to the modified
> BSD to be in line with OpenLayers and GeoExt, there would still be
> ExtJS' license. And since they are the licensor, it's important that we
> know how far reaching their recourses can be. Could they go and say
> "it's not because you guys use modified BSD licenses for the libraries
> you use to wrap *our* ExtJS into that the applications derived from your
> libraries are exempt from the GPL requirements".
I am not sure but I think GeoExt has been granted a BSD license for
their use of ExtJS in GeoExt. But confirming that would be good.
I don't know about mapfish.
>> so I
>> am really looking forward to the outcome of this discussion in those
> Yes. At one point, I suggested to Éric Lemoine to submit the question
> of the MapFish license (or rather how it could harm the rest of the
> modified BSD stack it evolves in) to the FSF or the SFLC : Software
> Freedom Law Center. I'll make sure the new MapFish PSC goes through all
> due checks and balances with organizations like the FSF before switching
> their license. We need to clear up the license issues so that all
> parties understand what they can and what they can't do with the
> software. Thanx for your input.
> Heck, I said the last post was to be the last ...
It's ok, this is a complicated issue and licensing is not well
understood by most people. Frank Warmerdam is very knowledgeable and
might be able to shed some light on these issues. I have CC'd him.
>> Yves Moisan wrote:
>>> My fingers did a bad key combination and the message got sent before I
>>> explained what the * was. It was meant to be a P.S. mentioning that the
>>> two largest desktop FOSS4G products, namely GvSIG and QGIS, are both
>>> released under the GPL. It's funny how the FOSS4G desktop world is GPL
>>> and the FOSS4G web isn't.
>> My short answer is that Desktop apps are finished products, so people
>> are unlikely to want to embed them in larger closed-source products and
>> GPL is less of an issue in this case.
>> OTOH, GPL doesn't work for libraries or small Web components since it is
>> not possible to build a closed-source product using a GPL component.
>> That's why LGPL was created.
>> Here is a practical example: If GDAL/OGR was GPL instead of BSD, then it
>> would not have the level of adoption that it has today. Very few, if
>> any, of the organizations/businesses listed in
>> http://gdal.org/credits.html would have used and contributed to it.
>> (Note: I am not only referring to the list of sponsors at the top, there
>> is a list of 20+ organizations who are credited for contributions at the
>> bottom of the page)
>> I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but I am of the opinion that
>> more often than not, GPL is a blocker to the adoption of Open Source
>> software in the industry in general (outside of our open source circle).
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